MDs used to feel it was their obligation to get us through to sixty-five. This was the retirement age that coincided with social security benefits, the time when one became too old to work. Lately that age has increased.
Many of us are now working well past sixty-five. Some are still going strong at seventy and seventy-five. But the belief still exists that there is a point after that when all becomes just too much. Then we become "out of it," ready for the retirement home on the way to nursing care. Today life expectancy has gone from sixty-five to around eighty-five.
There are those who last beyond this point, but they are generally thought to be rare. If they hit that mark they are thought of as having lived a long life, blessed supposedly by longevity genes. Those of us who make it to this point are not so much the concern of the medical community as they tend to think we belong on the far right of the bell curve.
MDs take long-life very seriously. They believe that it is their job to get us to these particular age marks. That is, all things being equal, if one of their patients did not live this long they would feel as if they let us down. That is what goes behind all of their words of supposed wisdom when it comes to what we should do to live our lives.
Clearly there are things which happen to us, which MDs cannot control. We can get into car accidents; we can contract dread diseases; we can over do, most often because of stress. Nevertheless, the medical community will do it's best to get us into habits which will minimize the chances of these ending our lives. For all of this, we ought to be grateful.
Where their advice breaks down, however, is when it comes to the quality of life.Everything that most MDs do is dependent upon a few assumptions :1.) adequate nutrition can come from grocery store food, assuming a careful read of the labels; 2.)eight hours of sleep and eight glasses of water are essential; 3.)stress relievers in the form of attitude adjustment is a daily requirement; 4.) we need emotional regularity from marriages, pets and friends;5.) faith even if only in the form of a belief in science is needed to maintain hope; 6.) daily rest and relaxation is the supreme cure-all. Few of us have too much trouble with any of those assumptions.
In other words, we can easily say "yes" to what MDs affirm.The trouble comes in what the MDs deny. Unless they are fresh out of medical school, most do not believe in : 1.)supplements; 2.) low fat low carbohydrate diets are choosing food from places such as the farmer's market; 3.) exercise on the form of daily workouts; To the medical community these three essential parts of a fitness lifestyle are all unnecessary. In other words we need not do any of these to make to what is thought of as a "ripe old age"--the longest time possible for us on the basis of our constitutions as they commonly say. In fact, it may be the case that doing too much in any or all of these areas will in fact prove to counter-productive. That is overdoing them will shorten the number of birthdays we could possibly expect to celebrate.
How can these people whom we rely on not believe in, and in fact deny, the very things that Jack Lalanne spent eighty of his ninety six years proving? Is there one MD who would not acknowledge the human physical and mental superiority of this man? Or, is that MDs do not know that he was taking forty to fifty supplement capsules per day (in his words from a to Z), doing hard two hour a day workouts, and eating like a champion for his entire professional life? Have any of them not seen in Jack energy levels that were superior to his thirty year old counterparts? Have none of them not taken seriously the writing and promotion of Jack's last book at ninety-five. (How many MDs have published anything or lectured every month of the year?) Have none of them seen pictures of a physique that was excellent at ninety-six by college athletic standards, if not world class ones?
How in the light of all of this can any professional doubt that what made Lalanne the champion he was? Possibly none secretly do (or they think he simply got a great set of genes.) But publicly, it is different matter, and that is the issue.Thus, the problem we should have is over the tacit threat that Lalanne's lifestyle in fact shortens life. The counter-assumption is that normal American life style of its rest and relaxation, FDA grocery store food, and non-supplemental imperatives is in fact superior. How can anyone who has seen Lalanne and known even partially of how he lived believe in any of this mediocrity?
The American life style and its defender, the medical community, has done much to increase the length of life and the quality of life for all of us. For this we should be grateful. Were we not doing the things they advise we would in fact be dying much more quickly and living far less agreeably. But what about those of us that want to be as "with it" as Lalanne was even through his last years? Surely that will not happen on grocery store food, rest and relaxation, and faith in the standard American diet, which is notoriously loaded with preservatives, to say nothing of being devoid of nutritional value.
In all fairness, we should accept that the MD prescription, the American "good life," will get us through to as long as we can make it. That is, our MD's advice should be trusted and gladly paid for. But, when it comes to what those final years tend to look like we should ask some serious questions. That is, when comparing Lalanne at ninety-six to all others of the same age, we should ask if there might not be a better a way. Of course the fitness community believes there is, and that is why we point toward the example of our grandfather--Jack Lalanne-- in essence saying that "he knows more than the doctors."
For further thought on fitness as it relates to longevity order my book "Think and Grow Fit."
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Obese 48 years ago; state champion power lifter 1978; in better shape today at 63 than when on swim team in high school
blog.foreverfitness.info (subscribe for weekly fitness updates)
Author of "Think and Grow Fit" the no hype guide to getting fit and staying that way forever
www.foreverfitness.info (6.00 ebook or 15.95 softcover from publisher I_Universe, Amazon or Barnes and Noble)
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