We all need to learn some anti-ageing secrets that focus on the mind, body and spirit. You are an integrated model — there are many aspects of a healthy life that rely on each other. Anecdotal information and science have both shown this to be true [source: Luskin]. Crush the spirit and the body will follow. Stimulate the mind and your mood will lighten. Exercise the body and your mind will be sharper. In many ways, these anti-ageing tips are interdependent.
It is true that one of the biggest keys to a long and healthy life is choosing your parents wisely. That, of course, isn’t truly a choice, but an acknowledgement of the enormous role that heredity plays in health. But you’re not a slave to your family’s past. New research shows that the brain has an amazing amount of plasticity [source: Doidge]. Impending health conditions can be planned for and bypassed (sometimes literally). Even mood and perspective can be relearned and practised for stress-avoidance. What does stress avoidance have to do with it? Basically, it enhances cognitive ability — that is, it keeps your brain sharp [source: Judge and Barish-Wreden]. But more on that later.
You can play a role in the length and quality of your life. You just have to learn how — and take action. On the following pages, discover 10 techniques for maintaining your youth and health as you age.
It’s one thing to live a long life, but if you want to live a long and vibrant life, you’re going to need a vibrant and sharp mind. The brain, like the rest of the body, needs exercise to avoid becoming sluggish and even disease-ridden. A study of nuns found that the more educated women had fewer instances of Alzheimer’s disease. And even autopsy analysis found that while a particular brain may have exhibited signs of the disease, the effects weren’t obvious in the women who had challenged their brains and had other interests outside their work [source: Roizen and Oz].
The brain needs to be challenged to keep neurological pathways open. Learn a new language, read or even simply practice awareness of your surroundings: smells, sounds, visual input. The old adage “use it or you’ll lose it” has validity when it comes to your mind.
Dr Kannan Athreya