Saturday, 20 June 2015

on staying "young"

I went to a 2nd hand book fair. There were lots of books on "how to stay young". I reached for them.....then put them down, as I had read many of these sort of books.  They all, except 1, had depressed me. I just could not relate to them. So many had an underlying message (& this could have just been my own interpretation!) that one was old...so lets "be" not quite so old, & usually containing advice on the latest health food of the time. Some exercise. Exercise your mind too. And the latest findings about people who have lived long lives.

Being "young" is different from all this. I thought about youthful women whom I'd known, women who look much younger than their years. A few came to mind, & I thought that I'd share some of their characteristics. I could only recall 1 man who was eternally youthful.

I am a yoga teacher so the people who came to mind, except 1 who still surfs at the age of 50, all practice yoga. Only 1 does hard core yoga such as very strong vinyasa, & in this case it's like athletic moving yoga. The only man does about 25 (in some systems they would say it was 50!) sun salutes, fast, & some easy lying poses. Some of the others do much less, a few sun salutes, twist, a couple of postures. Not much. But they do it regularly, & this is 1 of the keys, regularity in your exercise. And yoga does seem to delay ageing.

The  80 year old who came to mind, went to a gym everyday, & had exercised all her life: running for many years & lots of calisthenics. These days she goes on the treadmill, then does a class for an hour: pilates, yoga, pump, etc. Honestly, she could do poses that no-one else in the class could. One of the 60+ year olds, very youthful, very glamorous, did 2 yoga classes each week & 2 days golf. The other 60+ lady walked 1-2 times daily, & went to 1 yoga class per week.

So, I can deduce, or observe, from this, that some sort of exercise, regularly, keeps us young. Actress Helen Mirren, almost 70, has done the xbx system for women for years, a combination of exercises which increase in difficulty, & you also try to do more & more repetitions in the allotted time. Takes 10 minutes, done most days.

Exercise thickens the skin, & maintains muscle tone....& builds it up if there wasn't much tone. Muscle tone is what gives us a nice shape. Exercise brings a rosiness to the cheeks. When we are young we have that bloom, we have muscle tone, we are active. We are healthy, we move. In youth, we have good posture, & exercise helps us maintain that posture, it keeps our muscles holding us upright so that we don't get a hunchback & shrink.

To keep standing tall: lift up chest, drop your shoulders, & soften the buttocks down towards the floor. This (should) lift your head to correct position & gently activate your abdominal muscles. Stooping makes us look & feel tired. Standing tall gives more energy & we look more vital. Vitality is 1 of the keys to youthfulness.


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