Illness, dementia, disability, isolation, discomfort, marginalization. In western societies, these are the words that the mind associates with the elderly. Today more and more people reach this age range thanks to medicine, which in the last century has contributed to increasing life expectancy. But is it really worthy to spend the last 20 to 30 years of our existence dependent on medicaments, spending every afternoon with your physician, always feeling achy, useless to society, needing care and continuous assistance?
Are we really sentenced to become human wrecks lying in a hospital bed, ready to die from one day to the next, throwing our families and the people who love us in a state of infinite sorrow and sadness?
Should we always say no to the grandchildren who are just asking us to play because we are blocked by osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, unable to pick up an object and even walk around?
The maximum age we can reach is genetically determined. In a case in France, 122 years have been reached and science estimates that the absolute maximum age is 125 years. We can not live forever and death is part of the life cycle.
But we can live until the end of our days in perfect health and above all independent.
The third age is the last period of life that does not have a definite start, but we will take , for convenience, the age of 45, the average age from which the physical decay begins.
Well, this process so hated and hardly accepted can be slowed down considerably and sometimes even reversed. How? By changing your lifestyle.
Here genetics do not play a big role. Even if your genes are perfect, if you will lead an unhealthy lifestyle, you will live less longer and, above all, less healthier to those who are not so lucky in terms of genes, but lead a nearly perfect lifestyle.
Lifestyle influences greatly the expression of our DNA. The genes never act on their own, but they always express themselves by interacting with the environment around us, and since our DNA does not change fast (we are talking about tens of thousands of years) but the environment does, here is an explanation why it is decisive to act on the latter.
LIFESTYLE MODIFICATION: ELISIR OF LONG LIFE
When we talk about lifestyle change in the direction of health promotion, we meet a huge essential problem. What does “healthy lifestyle” mean?
Here comes a world full of lies, a world of thieves, hypocrites, and the food industry’s profit terrain. Here comes the economic sector of fitness, with their science fiction inventions, ridiculous phosphorescents clothes and many other useless products. Here comes the low-fat, low-carb, lactose-free milk, flour-free bread, sugar-free products, light drinks and even those with half sugar (we do not name names) and so many other inventions to sell. Here, “sport disciplines” are born along with their events and manifestations that are rather useless and harmful, unfortunately involving millions of people around the world.
There is a lot of confusion and no one still knows what a “healthy lifestyle” means, or maybe it is just not favorable to know it.
Given the lack of general guidelines regarding this subject, we have stepped back into the evolutionary history of mankind and we have studied the lifestyle we have been conducting for about 3 million years, when humanity appeared with the species of ‘homo habilis’, up to about 10,000 years ago, the period of the beginning of the agricultural revolution.
If we have survived all this time until now, something good must have been done if we survived the natural selection, don’t you think?
Our lifestyle was strictly that of the hunter-gatherer. Virtually for millions of years we have been just going around all day long looking for food. Chronic degenerative diseases were unknown to hunter-gatherer man, unlike the farmer. The third age was a happy time, in which wisdom was achieved, always remaining physically and healthily independent. And if you think you were dying at 40, you’re wrong. Skeletons and human remains of 70-80 years old, belonging to the pre-agriculture period, have been found, without signs of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and other chronic degenerative diseases. Obviously when you hear the stories that we used to die at around 35, those data refer to the average age. There were many infantile and premature deaths (caused by infections, traumas, poisonous animals, wild animal attacks, and wars among rival tribes) and few arrived at the third age but those who reached it remained healthy and fully independent.
Nowadays, there are still over 200 populations living in a hunting and gathering lifestyle, and older people from these tribes show no signs of diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, neurodegenerative diseases, and other chronic illnesses. The more observed are the Hazda in Tanzania and the Ache in Paraguay.
Moreover, always remaining in the animal world, have you ever seen a lion with osteoporosis? A demented bison, an obese tiger or a giraffe with multiple sclerosis? NO!
Have you ever seen a dog with arthrosis or a diabetic cat? YES! Even pets develop chronic-degenerative diseases as we humans. Obviously, castrated, forced to eat crusts and spend time on the couch, they develop diseases as well because that is not the lifestyle they have been meant to do.
And that is exactly the problem. We are still not adapted to this new post-agriculture lifestyle and our DNA goes crazy, generating sick phenotypes, kept alive only by the modern societies comfort and reducing the third age to a miserable time of torture and suffering.
BUILD THE BASIS FOR A HAPPY THIRD AGE
When do we need to act and change our lifestyle? Better late than never. You are always in time to change but you should not wait too long. We do not speak of miracles but of prevention.
The basis for a healthy elderly age should be thrown in the first 45 years of life since the early days of childhood characterized by permanent adaptation phases. Do not keep your children in front of the TV to ingest popcorn and sweets all day long. Physically active children will have adult muscle and bone mass greater than sedentary and fattened children. Similarly, the first will have less fat cells and therefore less ability to store subcutaneous and visceral fat than the second will.
Developing strength, muscle mass, and bone mass should be your priority up to 45 years of life and only later in the third age you must jealously guard this treasure. You have to keep your musculoskeletal system alive because it is thanks to it that you move, and movement is life. Once you lose the ability to move, your body machine rustles, floods itself and finally dies. It is a simple concept in physiology: IF YOU DO NOT USE IT, YOU LOOSE IT. So if you do not use your body any longer, the joints will melt generating arthrosis everywhere, the bones will weaken, developing osteoporosis and the muscles will become atrophic. Exactly the same thing happens to astronauts after they return from space missions: bones, without exposure to the force of gravity, can shrink up to 2% every month with the consequent muscle loss.
The solution is to adopt a lifestyle that retraces that of our progenitors. Physical activity and ancestral nutrition followed by the control of stressful agents and good rest. And by physical activity we mean WEIGHTS, and especially HEAVY WEIGHTS because it is the only way that strengthens bones and muscles by protecting them from the attacks of time. For ancestral nutrition, we mean introducing specific species food, targeted nutritional supplements, and antiaging nutritional strategies such as blood glucose control, insulin production and related protein glycation, control of homocysteine and low-chronic inflammation.
Forget about the stories telling that weights are dangerous and block the growth. Lies!
Forget about the food pyramids and leave behind the story telling that we have to eat a bit of everything. Lies and lies again!
Come and train with us and getting older will never be so enjoyable!