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Sunday, April 3, 2011

The "Why Bother" of Health Stuff

I’ve been giving some thought to my self-appointed job here. That job is to inform folks about how to have a better middle and old age. I’m struggling a bit with knowing how to reach people. Why do I care? Well, I’m seeing too many people—even a lot of young people—who are less than vibrant, vigorous, energetic. There’s an attitude of acceptance about not feeling good. “It’s just part of aging.” “What can you expect? I’m ____” and they fill in an age. Or they look at an elderly person and say, “Well, after all she’s lasted a long time! So what if she’s forgetful.”

See, I don’t think so!!!! If there ever was a very elderly person in great health, vigor and energy who was doing lots of neat things, then that’s the human potential. I challenge the idea that aging means not feeling good, or being sick. That’s pathology. The normal is what I want to discover, and experience.

With this in mind, I did a little research. Look at these articles and videos.

Bill Burke is climbing Mt Everest for the second time this season. He is 69.

Ernestine Shepherd may be the oldest female body builder at 73, and she didn't start until she was 56.

Here’s the world's oldest ballroom dancer, at age 93

Elsie McLean golfs at Bidwell Park Golf Course in Chico, CA and has for decades. In 2007 she hit a hole in one! Elsie was then 102.

Perhaps the world's documented longest lived person was Jeanne Calment of France who lived to age 122

Oldest college graduate ever is Nola Ochs, age 95

Frank Shearer, of Washington state, 100 years old and still water skiing. Always active, he has recently added weight lifting.

This is our birthright. OK, I concede there are differences in genetics and such. But I’m setting out to demonstrate and to show it’s possible for this kind of longevity and physical vigor, heartiness and vitality!

The trouble is that I see a lot of people who don’t believe it matters and don't want to make changes. Admittedly, it takes some big ones. Admittedly, it tends to put you at odds with most of our culture—at least a bit. Really hurting or sick people seem to “get it” that it’s worth the effort. But the modestly ailing, or those with just a worn down feeling or mildly hurting do not see the correlation between lifestyle choices, what they’re eating and how they’re feeling.

Here are a couple more reasons I care about this stuff. The lifestyle choices and food choices people make don’t kill them today. What it all does is make them decline with more and more problems, pain and disease for the last 10 to 30 years of life. It’s awful to watch!

But also, that same decades-long decline makes the following statistics SHOUT that we have it all wrong: The US is 37th in health outcomes, with our life expectancy in 27th place, but we spend 53% more per person than any other country.

There’s a part of me that says, “So what! People can live their own lives any way they want.” But there’s another part of me that would like to see people feel better, live like some of those people in the articles and videos above, and oh, by the way, not bankrupt our country financially.

So I’m asking you, my readers if you have any ideas on how to connect how people feel and what they’re doing to themselves. What made you interested in a wellness adventure? What makes the effort it takes worth it for the possibility of vibrant health?

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I'm in the so-what category - fortunately I have pretty good health now and have experienced really good health so exercising is something I always come back to.

    I'm now doing low carb - and some of my friends think I'm nuts... but they are watching. Seeds planted... wonder if I can live long enough to see them sprout?