With the advanced medicine we have today, an extra 30 years could be added to your life. The question is will you still have a high quality of life during those extra 30 years?
Functional longevity is maintaining the ability to do what you NEED to do, what you WANT to do and what you LIKE to do as late in life as possible. It is possible to be healthy, robust, energetic, vibrant, and functional well into your 80’s, 90’s and even 100’s. Banana George Blair water skied bare foot at 98 years old.
There are two types of aging. Primary aging (biological aging), is the aging process where we are born, mature, peak, decline, and die. It is the inevitable cycle of life. Secondary aging (lifestyle aging), is the aging process that is secondary to our lifestyle choices – nutrition, physical activity, stress, and environment.
Extensive studies on astronauts and Master’s athletes have made it very clear that most of the negative aspects associated with the aging process are due to the secondary, and not primary, aging. Functional decline is due more to your lifestyle than your biological age. Genetics only account for 25% of the aging process. The other 75% is up to you.
At what age does someone become “old”? Have you found that the age you consider old keeps moving? “Old” isn’t’ a number. It is a state of mind. If you look at yourself as old, then you will be. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How can you ensure your functional longevity? Exercising (cardio and strength training), eating a healthy diet, and trying new things will help to increase your functional longevity. The more you actively engage in life, the longer you will be functional. If you are retired, get involved in Senior fitness classes in your town. Keep your brain actively engaged by doing jigsaw or crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or go online to Luminosity.com or BrainHQ.com and play their brain games.
Accept your chronological age without letting that age limit who you are and who you want to be.
Holly Kouvo is a certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, Functional Aging Specialist, speaker and writer.