My father is seventy-five years old and barely looks like he's in his fifties. He doesn't have one wrinkle on him, no saggy skin, and he isn't on any medications. He had no plastic surgery done. He still lives in New York City and he gets around town with his bike. He still attempts to make work-out videos. When I saw him recently, I was a bit amazed that he looked like that he had gotten younger.
There's a former fitness participant who used to come to my fitness classes religiously. I knew she was significantly older than me, but I had no idea that she was pushing sixty years old! She had only a few wrinkles in her face, but not enough to make me think she was that old. She had nicely-toned arms and legs and a well-defined back.
There's another person I've met some time ago when I was working in Lowe's Garden Center. He was seventy years old, but I would have thought around mid fifties, with a slight possibility of being in his low sixties. He had a nicely-defined body and you could tell that he works out.
Then you have a woman who religiously participates in my ZUMBA fitness classes who was 69 years old from the last I've checked. No, she doesn't look it. Not only does she takes my classes, but I would see her around the church's neighborhood power-walking.
These are just a FEW examples of our seniors who look younger than they are because they take care of what they have: their bodies. The better you take care of that body, the longer it will last you.
Then, there are people who are my age who look much older than they are. I'm not talking about simply having a mature look, but an aging look. On Facebook, I look at the friends that I went to college with who look older than I do! What's funny is that back in college, I was the one who looked older than everybody else. I was 17 when I went to college and people thought I was in my thirties. Now, it looks like the tables are turning. Why? Well, because when you start taking care of yourself, you could "halt your age" so that you could look, feel, and even act younger than you really are.
Some people just have the genes to age gracefully, even if they don't work out. But then you would hear all the health problems they have: high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, with a side of fries. They are taking medications for this, that, and the other. They look good, but internally, they are a mess. These people could brag about how good they look, but they can't brag about how good they FEEL.
Now, here's the good news for everybody: it's never too late to start being a good steward of your body.
The main reason you start breaking down is because the body sees no reason to "renew" itself. For example, the older you get, the higher of your chances for getting osteoarthritis. This is the condition where your joint cartilage starts to deteriorate. Why do they deteriorate? Because the body is not renewing the cells that keep the cartilage "active." There is no reason to, especially if you barely move your body. However, once you start exercising and nourishing your body, then you could halt the deterioration process and start building up cartilage cells.
It's no big wonder why many of my ZUMBA participants are at least in their 40s. The older you get, the more you start to "feel your age." Getting older with all the aches and pains become a reality and you'll see how limiting these aches and pains are. You don't care to live a life where you're always tired and hurting.
While death is promised to everybody, everybody doesn't have to lie helplessly waiting for death to take them away. Everybody doesn't have to look forward to a life where they're building a library of medication. Everybody doesn't have to always look forward to naps. Everybody could start doing something NOW to take care of what they got...or whatever they have left.
Right now, you might be thinking that you're good to go. Yes, you're older but you don't have any aches or pains. You feel great! Well, that's wonderful. Don't you want to maintain that good feeling? Trust me, if you don't maintain the good thing that you have going on, the body won't maintain it for you. The body would hold onto good health only as long as it can, and then one day, it would feel that everything is going wrong at the same time! This is the "deceit of good health": everything looks like it's going well, but everything will abruptly change if you don't maintain your good health.
If you are young and feeling invincible, your time is coming and it could come with everything it got all at once. More and more of the younger crowd is having more of the "old people problems." There is one guy at church who was a few years younger than me, and he was walking around with aches and pain. His reasoning? "I'm just getting old." He said this when he was twenty-seven years old!
You have one body to live in. Take care of it as a good steward. In fact, take care of anything that you have -- or whatever you have left. You may not have all of your teeth, but you could take care of the teeth that you have left. You may have bad vision, but you could take care of whatever vision you have left. You may not have the best knees, but you could take care of whatever knees you have that's functioning.
If you sit back and do nothing, the precious thing that you have, your body, will deteriorate fast. Yes, I know you're busy. Yes, I know you got this, that, and the other to think of. But think about this: you don't know how old you may live to. You might live well into your nineties. How do you want to spend those years? You may only live to be in your seventies. How do you want to spend those years? You may only live to be in your fifties. Again, how do you want to spend those years? Don't put off your health because you're not expecting to live past a certain age. I've been in enough nursing homes to see plenty of older folks who live well into their nineties but they could barely do anything for themselves.
Never take your health lightly. Don't think that just because you pass your physical exams that you don't have anything to worry about. Just because the doctor didn't detect anything doesn't mean you don't have something else going on. Blood work may come back good because the damage that has already been done isn't bad enough yet. In fact, I say that physical exams are "false negatives" -- that is, you may appear well when you are really not. It's like getting a car inspection: just because you pass the inspection doesn't mean that there is nothing wrong with the car. It's just that the inspectors only check what they are concerned about.
If you've been slacked with your health, the good news is that you could still do something about it now. You don't have to come to my classes. But do something to take care of yourself. Just because you don't smoke doesn't mean you're in the clear. You could get lung cancer without ever smoking a cigarette. Just because you don't eat junk food also doesn't mean you're in the clear. Don't think that just because you don't participate in certain behaviors that you are good to go. Good health involves active, intentional participation that maintains the good thing that you have going on.
Be active in maintaining your health. No one is so busy that they can't think about their health. Believe me, if you're too busy to focus on your health now, one day you will have plenty of time to devote to your health. This could happen when you are too sick to work on your job anymore.