The aging process, though inevitable, is unpredictable. Authors Rudolph Tanzi Ph.D., and Deepak Chopra M.D. of the book SUPER BRAIN say that there are these unknowable factors about how the brain ages:
Aging is very slow- It starts at about age 30 and progresses at about 1% per year. Some cells age more quickly than others, and they age too slowly to observe over time.
Aging is unique- Everyone ages differently, even twins. Life experiences create unique genetic patterns as we age.
Aging is invisible- Though we can see outer changes in cells such as graying hair and wrinkling, the inner life of our cells at the molecular level are impossible to track.
In spite of these uncertainties, we can impact our cells by sending positive messages from our central nervous system, and minimizing negative messages. We can affect our own DNA! Drs Chopra and Tanzi talk about the mind-body connection. As much as we’d like to simply take an anti-aging pill, lifestyle choices are really our best defense against aging.
How to reduce the risks of aging:
Eat a Mediterranean Diet- olive oil instead of butter, fish instead of red meat, whole grains, beans, nuts, whole vegetables and fruits. Cut way back on fats, sugar, and ready-made processed foods.
Avoid overeating. Just walk away from excess food.
Exercise moderately for at least 1 hour 3 times per week.
Drink alcohol, preferably red wine, in moderation, if at all.
Take steps to avoid household accidents (from slippery floors, steep stairs, fire hazards, etc.)
Get a good night’s sleep , and take an afternoon nap if you like.
Have good friends.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Engage socially in worthwhile projects.
Be close with people who have a good lifestyle–habits are contagious
Follow a purpose in life.
Leave time for play and relaxation.
Address issues around anger.
Practice stress management.
These lifestyle choices affect longevity and quality of life. If you have started, continued, or restarted music lessons later in life, you have already surpassed the biggest obstacle to longevity:
“The most crippling aspects of aging tend to involve inertia. That is, we keep doing what we’ve always done. Starting in late middle age new things gradually fall by the wayside. Passivity overtakes us; we lose our motivation.”
Not you! Piano lessons are offering new challenges to your brain every time you sit down to practice. And playing the piano keeps you humble! 🙂
More about longevity on Sunday. Tomorrow I will be traveling all day, to visit my older daughter in East Hampton, NY. By Sunday I will have access to a computer again.
With love and music, Gaili