Keep age at bay, feel younger | Sunday Observer

Keep age at bay, feel younger

4 July, 2021

Some people grow old gracefully. When they mention their age, people find it hard to believe them. We had a schoolteacher who was about to retire, but she looked as if she was in her 40s.

Despite age some men and women maintain a healthy figure radiating vitality. You may have heard of a heart surgeon called Michael De Bakey. In 1997, at the age of 88, he supervised former President of Russia Boris Yeltsin’s open-heart surgery. Thereafter, he worked with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) engineers on perfecting a new miniature heart pump. Unlike most men of his age, he had an erect carriage, a firm handshake and a piercing gaze. Although his face was lined, he looked a man of 60.

What is the secret of such people who look younger than the ages mentioned in their driving licences or passports? Sometimes you may have seen mothers walking with their daughters who look like their sisters.

In a ten-year scientific study to find out the real factors that make people look younger than they are, some startling facts have been revealed. Most of the adults who look younger lead satisfactory sex lives. They associate with people of all ages and are extremely energetic in their indoor and outdoor activities. They sleep well and get up early in the morning to go for a walk. Active people maintain their posture well. They like to travel and walk long distances. They read newspapers and books and are not addicted to watch television.

Most of the people who took part in the scientific study were non-smokers and moderate social drinkers. It has been found that smokers show signs of old age faster than non-smokers. Although a person’s age and appearance are determined by genetic inheritance, there are certain factors that remain under our control. We have the power to control our eating and drinking habits. If you have the will power, you can even give up unhealthy habits such as smoking.

Positive attitude

Our life-span on this planet is relatively short. Only a few people live up to 100. Most people die even before reaching the age of 60 or 70. Without leaving anything to fate, we should try to lead a healthy and long life by following certain guidelines. More than that, we should have a positive attitude towards life.

Most people remain inactive in their old age. If they cannot take part in sports, they can walk vigorously at least for 30 minutes in the morning. If you cannot walk daily, do it for at least three days a week. Walking is the best exercise for old people because it improves their stamina and blood circulation. Other options are gardening and playing with children. Dancing and swimming are also good for building flexibility. When you do such exercises regularly, you will not be subject to pains and aches on your back and other parts of your body.

When old age approaches, there is no need to panic. Everybody grows old whether they are rich or poor. What has to be done is to maintain your health. You cannot do without some form of exercise. Some people invest large sums of money in sophisticated exercise machines. In rural areas people have no access to gyms or exercise machines, but they get enough exercise while doing their daily chores in their fields or chena cultivations. As city folks have no such places, they have to find alternative methods of exercising their bodies. Regular exercise raises the body’s metabolic rate. When you do something vigorously, the body releases small amounts of human growth hormones which are beneficial to your overall health.

Nutritious food

Partaking nutritious food is an integral part of your lifestyle. Food is a source of pleasure and if you avoid food for some reason, it will make you weak and miserable. There should be a variety in what you consume. Doctors always recommend a balanced diet. There are a few rules to follow when you eat something. We need to eat around 60 per cent of food in the form of complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits. It is advisable to eat smaller quantities enough to satisfy your appetite. Never eat anything when you are not hungry. Doctors say cigarettes, alcohol and coffee tend to diminish the level of vitamins.

The brain, like all the other parts of your body, needs regular exercise. We tend to forget names and dates of birth of our loved ones when the brain does not get enough exercise. Most people do not know how to exercise their brains.

Psychologists have shown us many ways to stimulate the brain. Mental exercises are designed to build up your brain power, improve your memory and creativity. If you are a student, you can use mnemonics to remember facts and figures. A mnemonic can be a poem or a sentence that you use to help you remember a rule or any other fact. The Loci method, which has been used successfully for thousands of years, involves matching items to a series of visual images that you can replay in your mind to jog your memory.

When you read books and newspapers you will come across difficult words and unfamiliar expressions. Copy them down in a notebook and find their meanings. This will improve your brain and vocabulary. If possible start learning a new language such as French or Spanish. When you read a novel, try to make it into a film in your imagination. What are the scenes you are going to keep and what are to be ignored? Such visual images will improve your brain tremendously.

Instead of reading your favourite newspaper or magazine regularly, try to read and understand something difficult. If you have studied science, read a novel or a book of poetry. Similarly, if you have studied arts, read books written on science. Try to write a short story or a poem. I have seen doctors singing and playing musical instruments. Some of them grow vegetables. Or else you can write a letter to the editor of any newspaper airing your grievances.

Another important hobby is to observe people in public places. You will note that they behave in different ways. Write your observations in a journal. When you meet tourists talk to them in their own language. Do not worry about their accent and remember that they bring foreign exchange to our country.

As Antonia Barber puts it, “Age hasn’t got much to do with how old you are.” Forget your age and lead a meaningful life. Do not carry your age as a heavy burden on your shoulders. Change your routine every now and then and allow more paths open for you to travel to distant places. If you are unable to travel, at least try to be an armchair traveller. If you look around, you will find many more activities that will bring you lasting happiness. Happy people grow old gracefully.

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