mìsula® magazine


Researchers in the field of gerontology support the positive effect of the following life activities on our health and aging. Since a high stress environment is dangerous to health and longevity, the practice of mental approaches to reduce stress are the cost effective and safe way to control stress, and have been proven effective for centuries. An active life -having a reason for living- can prolong life. We know that people who are young have eager, inquisitive minds. They are curious, always seeking and evaluating answers. They are willing to try something new–a new approach to a job, a new kind of music, a new response to a recurring situation. I leave out the sex hormone testosterone and aging that may be inappropriate for some… Good marriage and social life can prolong life. For example, married couples live longer than single people with an otherwise similar social life. These effects may be due in part to reduced stress as compared to lonely people. Mental exercises such as reading and crossword puzzles, and physical aerobic exercises for about 15 minutes, three times a week can go a long way towards preserving the body and mind. However, exertion can actually shorten lifespan. So the message is to do but don’t overdo. Note: Between 1930-1960 the medical profession regarded vigorous exercise as a form of stress that would wear out the body. We know now that in contrast to machines which wear out with use, human organs and tissues develop an adaptive increase in function with use that runs counter to the changes which occur in aging. Seven guidelines, some of which are familiar to us, have been suggested by various health experts to prolong life. These include no smoking, moderate weight, moderate drinking, physical activity, eating breakfast, regular meals, and sleeping seven or eight hours–but not less than six or more than nine. In the overall conclusion, safe habits to prolong life include proper nutrition, a diet rich in fiber, and low in animal fat, sugar and refined foods. Certain aging theories suggest a possible role of vitamin E and C and foods rich in nucleic acids as another nutritional aspect of long and healthy living. However, some of the ideas of the eastern world such as yogic breathing for vigor and vitality, postures to keep youthful body flexibility, and the effect of mind on our health and performance, are very important for healthy and youthful living. These ideas of the eastern world that are based on centuries of experience, are certainly safe and effective as compared to the modern aging theories which are still in the exploration stage. (By Dr. Sukhraj S. Dhillon)