MAY YOU LIVE TO BE 120....
Virtually all recent medical research on aging points to the fact that the human animal, you and me included, has the potential to live up to 120 years of age. That means 120 active, happy and productive years ... not years in a rocking chair, wheel chair or nursing home. That being the case, THE SECOND HALF of our lives does indeed BEGIN AT 60.... However, since most of us have spent the first part of our lives mistreating our God given equipment, this human body of ours; so we may not all make it to 120. But the good news is that most of us should be able to make it to 100 and well over. This book is dedicated at giving us the best possible chance at reaching as near as possible to our true life potential.
Let's re-emphasize, we are talking about healthy, happy, active and productive years full of the things we enjoy doing. We are talking about adding years to our lives ... and more important ... putting quality life in our remaining years.
How often have you heard the question, "If you had it to do over again, what would you change?" Well, if you are coming up on 50, theoretically, you do have it all to do over again. Just think what you should be able to do with those years, knowing all that you've learned in the first 50! What you need to do is get yourself into the best shape you can so you can live out as much of your 120 year potential as possible. It is to that end that this book is committed. Follow this program, and within a year you should be as fit as you can be, and headed for as bright and long a future as possible, may you live to 120!
Still a little skeptical about all those studies that say we should be full of fun, vigor and productive activity to 120 years of age? Let's just look around at what's going on in the rest of this world, and not too far from home, I might add. It might surprise you to know just how many people over 100 years of age are living right here in the United States; would you believe over 100,000? That's 50,000 more than just ten years ago and that number is expected to pass 125,000 in just a few years. We've learned a lot about aging in the past decade. But this kind of longevity is not new. In other parts of the world people have been living remarkably long life spans.
I work as medical director to an organization, Doctors To The World, which sends volunteer medical personnel into areas of need the world over. This gives me the opportunity to go to some fascinating places, most of them in the Third World. It was a surprise to me that health in the Third World is often better than here at home.
We've all heard of the starvation and terrible diseases in places like India, Bangladesh, Somalia, in the Sudan, but these are really exceptions rather than the rule. These situations make the news, as well they should to arouse our interest to give aid. Less frequently do we hear about the Third World people who live nine to ten decades or longer ... we mean active and productive decades.
One of my first exposures to these long living Third World people was in one of the most primitive places on earth, Zone Makita, Honduras. Life in this area goes on pretty much as it has, unchanged, for over six-hundred years. The area has few roads, virtually no electricity or other modern technology. I was among people who had never seen a modern doctor, having been cared for by one or another Medicine Chief when they were ill. Herbs, teas and potions were the main medicinals of the area. Their elderly were active into their late nineties and there were more than just a few of them.
Barbuda is a small island in the Caribbean, just twenty-eight miles due north of Antigua. It has only about 1200 residents, all living in one small village at the edge of a large lagoon. There only medical care is provided mainly by volunteer doctors who rotate to the island a month at a time. But even before we provided them with volunteer medical care, these people were living into their nineties and past one-hundred ... and as in Honduras, they remain active and productive.
In Ecuador I was introduced to real longevity. I was with a team of Ophthalmologists and nurses, volunteers who replaced three-hundred cataracts with intra-ocular lenses. My job was to examine all the patients to make sure they were able to withstand surgery. I also examined numerous others who were there for other eye treatments. Altogether I checked over five-hundred of the natives of that area of Ecuador, high in the Andes mountains, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Among those five-hundred people I found no heart disease, no cancer, no diabetes, no evidence of stroke or hypertension ... all the diseases that kill off Americans in our fifth, sixth and seventh decades of life. Granted, the people who had these dreaded diseases may not have come in for eye problems, but I doubt that. In any case, I was examining natives in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, people 100, 102, 106, one as old as 114. And these people were leading active lives, most having walked several miles to come to our hospital in the town of Garanda. Furthermore, I was told we were not too far from a village where people lived over 100 routinely ... one reportedly over 130 years.
Armenia is a country deprived of our high tech medical system and her people suffer severe economic hardships. I was privileged to lead one of two American medical teams into that country immediately after her devastating earthquake of 1988. In the major city of Yeravan, life expectancy did not seem any different than ours; lower in fact on the average. There men died in mid to late fifties and women in their later sixties. These city people were exposed to pollution and stress equal to any of our major cities. They smoked and ate a high fat diet even beyond our levels of indulgence. The only place their habits improved on those of Americans was that they were a bit less sedentary than we. But outside of their capitol city it was quite another story. In the mountain villages where the diet was considerably healthier, the air far cleaner, the lifestyle more relaxed and tobacco use virtually unknown, where the people walked several miles a day to get from one place to another, those people lived long active lives. Late 90s` 100 to 110 years of longevity are not uncommon; 120 to 130 are less common but not unheard of, and the world’s oldest recorded age of 147 came from that area.
The point is, that we Americans are only living 1/2 to 2/3 of our allotted time on this earth and we aren't fit enough to fully enjoy the years that we do survive. The good news is that we can do something about it if we want and the changes we have to make in our life style aren't that drastic or painful.
In spite of the fact that, in the past decades American’s life spans have lengthened dramatically, American’s longevity is only forty-second in the world, and many of those countries ahead of us are Third World! There is plenty of room for our improvement!
This book will lead you through those changes. Make them and you'll be amazed at how much health, activity, fun, productivity and ambition can be returned to your old bones. Your goal, "should you accept this assignment," is to become as fit as you can possibly be by this time next year, heading for a bright and long happy, healthy, active and productive future.
From the book, "The Second Half Begins at 50" Amazon Kindle by Othniel Seiden, MD 7 Jane L. Bilett, PhD.