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Activity: The Mother of Life

Tai Chi Girl Chen Flying
Activity is the Mother of Life

Have you ever noticed that some people nap more during the day  as they age?  It often becomes harder for them to stay awake during routine activities.  There are many sleep related disturbances that can cause excessive daytime sleepiness at any age, such as:

  • Difficulty Initiating Sleep
  • Awake A Lot During Night
  • Difficulty Returning to Sleep
  • Snoring
  • Pauses in Breathing
  • Nocturia
  • Symptoms of Restless Leg

These sleep problems tend to increase with age but are not considered part of normal aging.  However, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) can be the first symptom on a slow but steady path of decline and suffering in the elderly.  The symptom creates a feedback loop that tends to promote further decline because as a person increases napping during the day they incur the following setbacks:

  1. Naps that are longer than 10 – 20 minutes can create sleep inertia resulting in grogginess.
  2. Naps too late in the day or that are too long in duration can diminish sleep drive negatively affecting the depth and quality of night-time sleep.
  3. There is an increased health risk (i.e. mortality risk) from excessive daytime napping.
  4. When a person is napping they may get insufficient physical activity throughout the day.  This in turn degrades sleep quality at night.

Thus when it comes to excessive napping, sleep that is normally restorative,  may truly become the insidious “Brother of Death” described in Greek mythology.  Excessive daytime sleepiness may also be accompanied by depression, attention and memory disorders, and an increase in nighttime falls.

Activity: The Mother of Life

To break the insidious cycle the human body needs vigorous activity that is challenging.  Activity is the mother of life and is often the best antidote to sleepiness.  We take movement for granted but in reality it is a magnificent gift and we are designed to use it as medicine and as a life-giving tonic!

We forget that movement is magical!  Our abundance of technology can not replicate the grace, versatility and independence of human body movement.   And it is all orchestrated by a fabulous network of trillions of tiny beings that we call cells.  They are all yearning to get involved in your life, but they can’t unless you blast the trumpet of movement in multiple degrees of freedom.

The body yearns for that bygone era when it had to fight for survival or flee to the tops of the trees, when the entire body participated in the endeavor of life.  Nowadays many of us make a living by twiddling our fingers on a keyboard, or moving our yappers non-stop.  Some are lucky to ambulate throughout the day, but how many people do you see climbing trees for a living, or swinging from vines?

So next time you yearn for a nap ask yourself this, did you really get enough vigorous physical activity today?  If the answer is yes then forty winks may be in order.  But if not, challenge yourself to a duel instead!  Get out there, get active, and bring your bodies 200+ degrees of freedom to life!  You may even sleep better tonight.

Challenge yourself to a duel!

Sexy Sexagenarians

Christie Brinkley at 49 in 1999. She looks pretty much the same today at 61 . DoD photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Dewitt D. Roseborough

When I first heard the word sexagenarian for people in their 60s my mind leapt to the question, “are there sexy sixty year olds?” Of course, the word sexagenarian has nothing to do with sexiness per se, although it does beg the question.

An interesting and plausible explanation that I have found for the association between the number six and sexiness has to do with the 10 commandments and the prohibition against adultery. There are modified versions of the 10 commandments and for many Christians such as Catholics and Lutherans the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is the 6th rather than the 7th of the 10.

With this in mind, it seems possible that the number six could have been associated with sex, and a “sixy person” (i.e. sexy person) could have been associated with violations of the sixth commandment.  Everyone knows sexy when they see it even if they are not tempted by it, so are there sexy sexagenarians? This is an important question for baby boomers who currently range in age from 51 to 69.

I recently leafed through a book at Barnes & Nobles that redefines what is possible for 60 year olds.  Christie Brinkley’s new book, Timeless Beauty, amazed me!  Click here to see her recent interview on www.foxbusiness.com.

Her book is full of tips and recipes, for staying young and healthy. She became vegetarian in her youth after learning how animals are treated at processing plants. She also promotes active lifestyles, smiling more and eating organic food, arguing that the cost of organic will go down as more and more people commit to it.  She says, “We’re so hard on ourselves! I think the way you look is tied into how you feel. The kind of true beauty I hope my readers are looking for is a combination of healthy living and good deeds.”

I like Christie’s idea of having a pair of jeans that “you can trust” for monitoring your weight.  She writes, “I have a pair of what I like to call my ‘honest jeans’. They’re the pair that fits me perfectly when I’m at my ideal weight.  So if I’m ever worried that I may have put on a few pounds, I slip into those (or try to!) and they never lie to me.”

But is she just a fluke of nature?  Are there other role models that could give us hope of extending our youthful bodies and appearance into the sixth decade of life?  You be the judge – check out this link on actors considered Sexy Silver Foxes such as:

  • Bruce Willis, 60
  • Pierce Brosnan, 61
  • Denzel Washington, 60
  • Michael Keaton, 63
  • Kevin Costner, 60
  • Richard Gere, 65
  • Bruce Springsteen, 65

And there are also many female actresses in their sixties that have retained their youthful appeal such as:

  • Meryl Streep, 65
  • Helen Mirren, 69
  • Susan Sarandon, 68
  • Susan Lucci, 68
  • Diane Sawyer, 69
  • Sally field, 68
  • Cher, 68

Miranda Esmonde-White (66) has developed a fitness program named Classical Stretch that will very likely help many others on the road towards becoming sexy sexagenarians.

There is hope out there for extending youthfulness, so keep improving your fitness routines, listening to your body, connecting with community, increasing your intimacy, living with joy and passion, eating for health. I hope to see you become a sexy sexagenarian some day!