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Living Longer

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

This is my first blog of many; I will touch upon a self-published book from 1903, a Harvard professor who also published fantastic reads and wellness in aging. I've recently turned 40, and I noticed that my body and brain are functioning differently than they did when I was younger.

"As a Man Thinketh," written by James Allen in 1903, is a memoir set during the new thought movement, just before the dawn of the industrial revolution. The author, 47 years old at the time of writing, drew on the wisdom he developed throughout his life for each section or chapter.

"All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts."

It's true, now more than ever before, people are living longer into old age. Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology Daniel Lieberman distinguishes between a "health span," or the number of years a person can expect to live in good health, and a "lifespan," or the total number of years a person can expect to live. Healthspan and lifespan were comparable among our caveman forebears, but this has changed dramatically. Strength training, in particular, can help preserve motor skills and bone density into old age, so it's important to keep it up. After 30, there is a consistent decline in these functions, and they have been linked to dementia and osteoporosis.

Many people over 60 struggle with multiple diseases and impairments due to the unhealthy lifestyles we promote. The fact that we are living longer thanks to medical advancements and technology means that we are aging faster than nature intended for us to evolve. I've included a link to the CDC's fact sheet on diseases directly attributable to our way of life.

The human brain is wired for lifelong education and has many practical implications for health. People like me can relate to the statistically significant difference between the life expectancies of those with and without college degrees as well as those who have experienced traumatic events. A longer life expectancy is associated with a more positive outlook on one's health and the belief that one is living a rich and meaningful life.

“If you would perfect your body, guard your mind.” James A. Allen

After reading up on this topic, I encourage you to explore options for maintaining health as we age. You are what you think, so keep moving, especially doing strength and conditioning. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I've included two recommended books to help you on your fitness quests.


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