Harvard Health Publications July 2009
We all know aging is an inevitable process, yet most of us are eager to maintain our health and enjoy our life in the most vibrant, vigorous way possible. We want to age gracefully, while retaining our vitality, energy, and memory. The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can have an enormous impact on our longevity and quality of life (*).
One of the most important factors to aging gracefully is avoiding the onset of common medical conditions. From heart disease and stroke to Alzheimer’s disease to hearing and memory loss, sidestepping these conditions can add years to your life and life to your years. It’s important to know the steps you can take to prevent these conditions and other common threats to your good health.
But it’s not just physical ailments that can impact your health in your later years. Keeping a sharp mind and memory is equally important. As many as two-thirds of people age 50 and over notice greater difficulty remembering names, appointments, and other details. But research has shown that our brains can keep growing new neurons (brain cells) and making new connections throughout life. People who keep learning (*) and stay mentally active increase their odds of retaining good brain function as they age. The more you use your brain (*), the stronger it gets — and the longer it stays strong.
(*) Developing a daily martial arts practice
can have an enormous impact on our health
mentally and physically, our quality of life and overall happiness
To be effective, that practice should include:
whole body exercises (That especially includes the mind),
with proprioceptive awareness of principles,
for strengthening (especially legs) and stretching,
solo forms (especially T’ai-Chi, Bagua) and basics,
weapons forms and basics,
qigong and standing meditation
To be effective it’s imperative that practices are done with correct principles and concepts.
“The mind directs, the body follows” – Old Chinese Martial Arts saying
“Observe, then adjust according to principles” – Sifu
“When practicing, awareness of oneself is key” – Sifu
Always practice with a mental focus on observing oneself,
then, adjust according to correct internal and external principles and concepts,
Your goal is to practice with the correct spirit (inward feeling).
“Strive to be present and in the moment” – Sifu
Pay attention to injury management,
properly attend to injury and illnesses
adjust your practice,
so that you can do it daily!
*A note to those that are on the ‘path’ to Mastery:
Eventually, your daily practice will become a daily routine just like brushing your teeth and bathing. With personal hygiene, one learns to adjust around injuries and illness.
There are occasions when it may be impossible to do our daily hygiene, because of illness or injury, but, as soon as you are able to, you would immediately get back to the daily routine of bathing and brushing, right?
For those that are on the ‘path’ to Mastery, if there was an interruption to their daily practice, they would return to it as soon as they were able to. Now their art has been elevated to the same status in their personal life, as bathing and brushing! That’s a Master!!
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