After conducting two back-to-back seminars in Nashville, TN, a vacation was a welcome break. Katrina and I drove down to Florida’s Gulf coast. We wanted to take the opportunity to spend some time with her parents at their beachfront condo and enjoy all the other beautiful things that Florida has to offer.
Walking hand in hand down the beach at sunset was romantically thrilling. Having a dolphin swim up was an exciting blessing. It had been a long time since I last swam in the ocean. I had almost forgotten how pleasurable it was to float among the waves as they rolled in. We went shopping on Saint Armand’s Circle on Longboat Key and found a wonderful vegan/raw food restaurant called the Green Zebra. Highly recommend! On another day we drove into Sarasota and ate at Beauty of Sprouts, another fantastic place to eat!
We toured an orange grove and got to meet a wildlife biologist and a number of rescued animals. Katrina and I also got some great massages at Hand and Stone in Sarasota. We spent a day at Epcot; my favorite part was visiting the World Showcase and seeing their presentations from the different countries represented. There were actually another thirty countries represented at a special Food and Wine Festival. And then, we finally had the joy to picnic with friends we met on Facebook. And, of course, I managed to get in four workouts at the gym.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in enjoying such activities, but I never fail to also count my blessings. I realize that many folks my age and younger suffer from mobility issues and are no longer able to walk or swim. Additionally, a large number of folks—it’s estimated to be one in three people—suffer from memory loss. And this isn’t even taking into account the 5.3 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. Many older people become afraid to venture out due to joint problems, lack of balance, or memory impairment. I feel very blessed to have discovered some ways to protect myself from many of these ravages of aging.
I realize that none of us have any guarantees on tomorrow, but here are a few practices I’ve personally benefited from that you also might find helpful. While many forms of memory impairment begin in our forties, it’s never too early to begin exercising your brain. I consider the brain and its neural connections as I do my bones and muscles: they need to be exercised in order to stay in shape. While I’ve read thousands of books and written over thirty, I’ve realized that while reading and writing help activate the brain and stimulate the mind, recalling important information is even more important. Watching a movie, for example, may engage the brain, but it doesn’t do that much for improving recall. Try recalling the names of the characters in the last movie you watched or who the actors were. Improving short-term and long-term memory requires putting forth a concentrated focus. I make it a point to try and remember everyone’s name. This means the waiter or waitress in the restaurant, service personnel, friends’ or neighbors’ children, etc. I think you get the picture.
When I read, I make it a point to look up words I’m not familiar with. This keeps me from mental laziness. Recently, knowing that I have a hearing impairment that prevents my brain from hearing certain syllables, I decided to learn German. This is forcing me to pay extra attention to the unfamiliar pronunciations, those that I might have a tendency to pass over in English. Since I also speak before audiences on a number of different (but related) topics, I’ve found it very important to deliver rich and accurate content. Therefore, each morning, to train my memory, I use a memory deck of one hundred cards I constructed. These cards are based on Greek mnemonics; I flip through this deck as fast as I can every morning. This sharpens my ability to retain information faster and easier. Additionally, every day I set time aside to practice classical pieces on my guitar. This helps preserve both my memory and my hearing. There are many studies linking hearing loss with Alzheimer’s disease. I also enjoy playing chess against the computer and solving chess puzzles. Being concerned about brain health, I take several herbs for mental acuity: bacopa, mucuna, and lion’s mane mushroom daily. Of course, not everyone has the same interests, but I hope you get the picture. As the age-old adage states, “Use it or lose it!”
This is certainly the same for the physical body. As I write to you, I’ve just finished my 120th workout of the year. I record every single workout in my diary. As a vegan septuagenarian, I’m still breaking records in the gym and continue to put on lean muscle mass. I find resistance training incredible for not only my muscles, but also my bones and joints. In addition to paying attention to my diet, I supplement with a number of anabolic herbs that protect my prostate and bolster my testosterone levels, such as pine pollen, tong kat ali, and others. Additionally, I practice qigong and do balance exercises, knowing that a loss in balance is directly associated with aging.
Well, I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the options you can choose from. I hope you agree that life is a lot more fun as an active participant than as a spectator sitting in the stands. This life is just too good to miss! Why not join me in living it to its fullest?
Reflections from Turtle Lake,
P.S.: You can find out more about the longevity herbs I take by clicking right here.