30.9.10

Keys to looking and feeling younger

Quest for the Fountain of Youth

If you happen to still be awake late at night, you will see any number of infomercials selling one product or another. Many of these products are marketed in a way that appeals to our desire to remain youthful. Examples include infomercials for cosmetics, ab machines, and exercise DVDs.

The efficacy of many of these products is questionable but they are all centered around the idea of bestowing strength, health, and youthfulness upon the consumer. For better or worse, we live in a youth-centric society where millions of people are eternally searching for the enigmatic fountain of youth.

After years of searching for the right product or program, many people become disillusioned with the quest for youth. They gradually become disheartened until eventually they quietly resign themselves to their apparent fate of simply "getting old". Fortunately, the reality of youthfulness and aging is not quite as bleak as some have thought up to this point in time.

Science and Medicine give us hope

Thanks to constant advances in the fields of gerontology (study of aging), psychoneuroimmunology (study of the connection between the mind and body), pathology (study of disease), and other fields of science, we are able to live longer than our ancestors were able to. In addition to increased lifespan, we now have the capacity to enjoy a higher quality of life as we continue to age.

As an example, back in the 1950's, few people truly understood the dangers of smoking. Now over 50 years later, everyday there are constant commercials and ads warning us not to smoke. We can take advantage of our knowledge that smoking can cause diseases like cancer and thus avoid adding to our risk.

Can our thoughts really make us healthier?

In this same way, there are certain key factors that we can manipulate to help us to stay youthful, healthy, and strong as we inevitably get older. The most important of all is to maintain a positive, optimistic attitude toward life. I know it may sound a bit like positive thinking mumbo jumbo to some people, but even science has recently verified the power of positive emotions on health.

Recent findings in the field of psychoneuroimmunology have shown that positive thoughts and emotions really do translate into better health via an improved immune system. Conversely, a negative mental attitude has been linked with lowered immunity against disease and illness. So, in other words happiness actually makes you healthier.

Don't forget diet and exercise

Other important factors for a long, healthy life include cardiovascular health, muscular strength, balance, and coordination. Regular exercise that includes both cardio and resistance training will help immensely in all of these areas. Cardio will strengthen the heart, improve circulation, and improve the body's ability to use oxygen efficiently.

Resistance training will build lean muscle mass (which decreases with age) and increase the density and strength of the bones (lowering risk of osteoporosis). Another benefit of exercise is that it can decrease bodyfat (which lowers risk of diseases such as diabetes).

Reduced bodyfat along with increased muscle mass will give anyone a much more youthful look and even more importantly a feeling of youth and vitality. Of course it is also essential to eat a healthy diet based on lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats such as olive oil.
 
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