Do we have to get ill as we age? I don’t think so. I believe it’s possible to live to 100 and more (I’m planning on reaching 200+ but in great condition and health).
People believe that conditions they have are a sign of ageing. I often try to counter (I say try, because usually I fail) that if it was about ageing, then everyone of that age would have it. So it can’t be just ageing. Which means we have other things to consider. Let’s focus on those we can control.
Do you have to get Alzheimer’s, Dementia or Osteoporosis as you age. I don’t believe so. We hold these beliefs about what it means to age, but that’s not the way everywhere in the world.
There are populations who age extremely well. In to their 100’s and beyond. Centenarians. In his book, Healthy at 100, author John Robbins looks at these populations around the world with high numbers of centenarians. Four regions in particular. Abkhasia (Russia), Vilcabamba (Equador), Hunza (Pakistan), and Okinawa (Japan).
There are a few consistencies. Some of them are listed here:
They were all very active. Doing what we would consider strenuous exercise (labourous tasks, walking distances adn so on). This is a way of life for them. They are not sedentary at all.
They ate no processed food (naturally), ate local to them (with globalisation we don’t. And by eating local we create the good bugs and bacteria in us we need local to our region). They also, according to Robbins, ate very little animal protein (between 1% to 5% of their diet)
Perhaps most important were the strong social ties and sense of community in those regions. Also the perception of elders was one of value and importance. They were wanted in the community. Values. Not leaving them out to some nursing home or giving them a bus pass!
Also the need for physical contact was mentioned as key to health. We know this to look at baby’s that aren’t held or have skin on skin contact. They don’t fare too well!
Famous family psychologist, Virginiar Satir, even stated that we need four hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12+ for thriving. So if you see me in the street, give me a big long hug!
Let me know what you think of this article, idea and book if you’ve read it. Love to hear from you.
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