Growing Older Without Getting Old

There are six basic rules to slow down the aging process and to modify and perhaps avoid infirmity, depression, and sickness so much feared toward the end of life.

(1) Maintain Independence. Independence and confidence are the primary requirements for preservation of vitality. You need to be able to make choices, even small ones, to affect your future. Make detailed plans for our future, and then look forward to them.

(2) Moderate Your Habits. Smokers, heavy drinkers, and the overweight age faster than their moderate counterparts. A healthy life style is critical to maintaining good health.

(3) Keep Active. Exercise at least four days a week for at least 15 minutes a day. Be gentle but persistent. Stretching exercises give flexibility and help avoid muscle strain. Endurance exercises increase energy. Exercise your mind as well as your body.

(4) Be Enthusiastic. To stay young you need to act young. Be enthusiastic! Ask yourself what you really want to do-work, travel, sports, hobbies, music, museums. DO IT! Do new things, develop new skills, and enjoy them. You’re not old as long as you look forward with real anticipation to the future.

(5) Have Pride. Think well of yourself. People with low self esteem are sick more often and age more rapidly.

(6) Be Individual. As you grow older, you become more and more unique. No one else has your particular set of life experiences, insight and beliefs. These are your strengths, and they make you interesting to those who know you. Cultivate this individuality.

Aging is real, but a decline in one’s functions is NOT inevitable to the extent once thought. You can slow down your own aging-almost every important aspect of aging can be modified by you. Your age in birthdays is not as important as your biological or “vital” age-how well you function. The difference between your vital age and your actual age can be as much as 30 years.