Having dedicated my career to helping people live their best possible lives, constantly pushing back and challenging the limits of our own human potential, I can say with great certainty that if we can incorporate a few key principles into our mindset, then we can not only extend our ‘Health Span’, but also our eventual ‘Lifespan’. Let’s take a closer look.
The sad fact remains that 80% suffer from at least one chronic condition. Basically, we’ve done a pretty poor job at looking after ourselves, and in this increasingly fast-paced, uber-modern world it’s time that we take a fresh look at ‘how we age’. And this, I’m pleased to report, is exactly what has been happening behind the scenes. I have been closely following advances in areas of science that could be about to transform the way people look at aging. What if we could be younger longer, a lot longer? Well, I’ve been doing some digging, and I think you may be excited by some of the things I’ve uncovered.
I think we all know intuitively that if you make certain lifestyle changes you can elevate your state of health. However, few people actually realize just how amazing the body’s capacity for healing and rejuvenation actually is. With a certain focus, and by developing the right mindset, most of us can in fact elevate our lives to levels that previously would have been thought impossible. I believe we need to operate from four fundamental mindsets.
Abundance Mindset - If we believe that health is limited and must surely fail as we age, then this is exactly what will happen. If we examined our DNA we would see that our genes are exactly the same as the day we were born, meaning we have enormous potential for healing and regeneration. It’s how these genes are read and interpreted that makes the difference and if we create a nurturing environment for our genes, then they will express themselves towards health and vitality.
Self Determination Mindset – We truly are in control of our own destinies. If something isn’t working, we have the power to change it.
Growth Mindset - We must avoid the traps of social conditioning which leads to a fixed mindset and acceptance that disease is inevitable as we age.
Longevity Mindset - It shocks me how few people have this mindset. Maybe you’re not concerning yourself with living as long as possible, but it’s definitely worth focusing on maximizing your health span, extending those healthy years of joy and purpose.
Why is this important?
With the Biotech advances that we will soon see in the present, we will eventually have the knowledge and ability to dramatically extend our ‘health spans’ and thereby our ‘lifespans’ considerably. For those of you who enjoy life as much as me this is hugely exciting, but there is one huge caveat, we have got to be in the game to win the game. I’m 60 going on 40, and if I’m going to be able to benefit from the advances that are coming over the next three decades, I simply have to keep myself in good shape. So, what’s my plan?
Well, I personally have an arsenal of strategies that I employ to improve my own health, probably too many for this article. But what I can do is run through what I call my ‘non-negotiables.’
Here's some of the things that I do to nurture my genes and preserve my health.
I make sure I do my 10-12,000 steps a day, usually at a fair pace to raise my heart rate. Walking the dog and using a cross-trainer make this pretty easy to achieve.
I look after my physical structure and alignment, ensuring I challenge my body to constantly build strength and flexibility. Remember, weight bearing joints that are out of alignment will wear out. Look after your knees and hips and find a good chiropractor or osteopath for your spine. Yoga definitely works for me. Don’t allow yourself to stiffen up; remember we’re playing the ‘long game’ here.
Having been a vegetarian for many years I started to miss meat. Now I follow a mostly plant based diet with piles of leafy greens, moderate amounts of fish, and I take meat only on the days I work out. This has helped me limit my meat consumption and also stay consistent with my exercise regime.
I keep my intake of sugar and simple carbs to an absolute minimum, and gave up sweets years ago. Insulin resistance is a modern plague and is the number one driver of high blood pressure, diabetes and accelerated aging.
Unhealthy oils are banned from our house as are pretty much all processed foods. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the order of the day with Coconut Oil for high temperature cooking.
Calorie restriction is closely associated with longevity so I try to live the Japanese way of ‘Hara Hachi Bu’, meaning to quit eating before you are completely full. I also skip breakfasts most days and I definitely keep my BMI in the optimal range. I do slip up, quite often actually, being only human, but my ‘mindset’ brings me back on track.
Stressing the body and mind definitely helps them stay strong through the process of ‘hormesis’. Cold showers and hot saunas definitely help, as do short, sharp, high intensity workouts.
I move as much as possible. I read somewhere that our ancestors moved about 200 times more than we do today, and shocking as it may seem, I think this is probably true. I have a little regime of exercises that I do throughout the day - you know push-ups, ab-rolling, foam-rolling - that sort of thing.
Supplements – Daily I take Vitamin D and Vitamin K, and a good shot of natural Turmeric & Ginger. I make my own probiotic drink (Kombucha) to ensure I have a healthy gut and once a month I make a bone broth to ensure I get all the fantastic collagen from the bone marrow.
Finally, quality sleep is definitely a non-negotiable. This is when your body heals, regenerates, makes nerve connections and a host of other vital actions. It is probably THE most important factor and shouldn’t be compromised.
What’s next? I’ve been following the research and certain compounds are showing enormous promise in delaying the aging process. I’m paying particular attention to Resveratrol, NMN and Metformin and I believe that I shall soon be incorporating these into my daily regime.
Does all this make me a health nut? Probably, compared with most people, but I’ve gradually incorporated these simple steps into my lifestyle over time, and it seems easy and quite natural. My goal? Simply to be still around AND HEALTHY ENOUGH to take advantage of the health breakthroughs that I see coming over the next couple of decades. I fully intend to demonstrate that 100 years old really can be ‘the new 60.’