Bob’s Ramble: Life and Aging – How Much Control Do We Have?

bbWe are frequently asked “How are you?” or “How’s it going?” and my typical answer is “Living the dream” because I am. Let’s face it – gravity and time are immovable forces working against us. Add in all the craziness in the world and it is clear that we aren’t all in total control of our own destiny. Random violence, accidents, natural disasters and people who place a low value on life regularly create havoc in people’s lives. The continual barrage of bad news from the ubiquitous media affects most everyone but the fact is that most of us still maintain a high degree of control over our lives and how we choose to live. I don’t know about you, but I’m always game to find new ways to improve my approach to life and the ever-present fight against gravity, time and negative forces.

I was given a worthwhile book by a good friend and colleague (Barry Anderson) that provides valuable insight into how we age and how much control we have over the aging process. In the book, Younger Next Year (and Younger Next Year for Women), Chris Crowley and a top MD from New York, effectively argue that if one commits him or herself to regular exercise, appropriate nutrition and the right mind set, one can not only maintain relative youth but can even reverse some typical aging manifestations. Their argument is “evolutionary,” meaning that the body [and mind] will respond to its perceived need to accommodate that which we throw at it. As we age, we naturally tend to slow down and push ourselves less than we used to. However, if we continue to push ourselves, or even push a little harder, we can maintain or improve our health and, thereby, extend the amount of time that we still feel relatively young. It isn’t easy and takes a personal commitment, but I’m convinced that the benefits far outweigh the extra effort. For me it’s not really about trying to live longer – it’s about trying to live feeling better.

The hardest part? Exercising for 40 minutes six days a week – feels kind of unrealistic but I am taking the attitude that a good vigorous walk is exercise – and that can be done pretty much any day by most of us. A better physical sense of being will positively affect our mood and attitude towards others, putting life for ourselves and our colleagues in an upward spiral. I highly recommend the book. If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know!