Last week I began a two-part article on “How to Live Well Into Your 80s and Beyond.” Here’s how I began Part 1 of the article last week:
I heard recently that the average person considers being “old” as being 15-years beyond their current age. If that be so, the average 20-year-old considers 35 as being “old”: the average 35-year-old considers 50 as being “old”; and the average 50-year old considers 65 as being “old”.
I recently turned 80-years of age… does that mean that I should not consider myself as being “old” until I reach the age of 95, just 15 years from my current age of 80?
Consumer Reports magazine had an interesting article in its June 2014 issue titled: “How to Live Well Into Your 80’s and Beyond” that caught my attention because I am already over 80.
Of course, very few people want to die or look forward to dying, but if we can maintain our youth and health and “live well into our 80’s and beyond” that would be an exciting concept.
In last week’s article (Part 1) I shared the “Five Keys to a long, healthful life” that appeared in the Consumer Reports, as well as sharing the importance of proper (1) “diet” and (2) daily “exercise”, in the prevention of physical and psychological problems as we pile on the years. I also shared what that diet was and how to exercise.
In (Part 2) which follows, I share how to prevent (3) Heart Attacks, (4) Strokes, (5) Brain decline, (6) Cancer, along with some other ways we can “Live Well Into Our 80’s and Beyond” Trust this information will be a blessing to you!
The Heart’s Importance
The heart is the most important muscle in the body. It is the heart that pumps oxygen containing blood and nutrients throughout the body. The blood is of such great importance, the Bible has this to say about it:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”
~ Leviticus 17:11
Keeping the heart strong so that it keeps pumping oxygenated and nutrient rich blood throughout the body should be of primary importance to everyone, especially those approaching what are called the “Senior Years”.
Dr. Chauncey Crandall in the May Issue of his Heart Health Report had the following to say on page 7:
“To keep your heart young, you need to keep your body young – and the best way to do that is by eating right and exercising. . . .
“The best diet for cardiovascular health is a plant-based eating plan that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and non-meat sources of protein. . . . .
“Regular, moderate exercise will also keep your heart from aging. . . .
“Evidence continues to mount that depression and anger release hormones that can both age your heart and trigger heart attacks. So pay attention to your mood and take steps to relieve stress. Exercise is a terrific stress-buster.”
Neal Nedley, M.D., in his book “Proof Positive” writes on page 124: “As a physician I find deep satisfaction in helping sick folks regain their health, and vigor. But there is something equally and perhaps even more satisfying, and that is helping individuals understand how to prevent illness.
“From all the research we now have on the causes of heart disease, the conclusion is clear: heart disease is largely preventable. Medications have their place, but the very best strategy is a commonsense vegetarian diet using a variety of fruits, grains, nuts seeds, and vegetables.
“Add to this diet a consistent exercise program, and a program of stress management. . . . Such a combination will give you the finest program for preventing heart disease or addressing a problem that has already begun.”
The Brain Must Be Kept Sharp
In the Consumer Reports article under the heading: Staying Mentally Sharp, the author had the following to say:
“The older Americans we surveyed said that losing their cognitive abilities was their No. 1 fear about aging”
I subscribe to the Life Extension Magazine and in the January 2014 issue they had an article titled “Outwitting Our Aging Brain” in which they concluded:
“Life Extension members will find comfort that their healthy lifestyle choices have proven to help protect against hypoperfusion (aging brain).”
The very things that keep the heart healthy – plant-based diet and daily exercise – are the very things that keep our brain healthy and functioning well as we pile on the years.
The National Stroke Association defines “stroke” as “a brain attack” caused by a localized lack of oxygen or a blood vessel breaks or hemorrhages, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. This event can lead to severe brain damage and death.
Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in America. Now for the good news – most strokes are preventable.
The most powerful tools at our disposal to prevent strokes are an optimal diet and regular exercise.
Studies have consistently shown that diets rich in plant source foods and exercise lower stroke risk. And of all the plant source foods, leafy greens are the most nutrient dense of all plant sourced foods.
Research also indicates that diets rich in fruits and vegetables had a more protective effect on strokes caused by blood clots. In fact, these plant-rich diets reduced the risk of death from stroke in 32% of men and 30% in women.
That decline in risk is as powerful as drug interventions!
Once again, the very things that keep our brain and heart healthy – diet and daily exercise – are the very things that help prevent stroke and keep us healthy and functioning well as we age.
Thirteen years ago, at the age of 67, I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. My diet was right and my exercise was right. If those two things are right, what else can cause a stroke? STRESS! Even though a person’s diet and lifestyle are right, they must learn to eliminate or control stress.
I completely recovered from that stroke on the Hallelujah Acres “Recovery Diet”. Just one week after that stroke, on the Recovery Diet, I visited a neurologist who couldn’t believe that I had no lingering physical or mental limitations – nor do I to this day, some 13 years later, at the age of 80.
Along with fear of losing their cognitive abilities as they age, senior citizens fear of being diagnosed with cancer is almost as great. Cancer is usually preventable by applying the same principles as those for keeping the heart healthy and brain sharp – plant based diet and daily exercise.
T. Colin Campbell, PhD, in his book “The China Study” has this to say on page 12:
“Contrary to what many believe, cancer is not a natural event. Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent the majority of cancers in the United States. Old age can and should be graceful and peaceful.”
Dr. Neil Nedley (M.D.) goes even further in his book “Proof Positive”:
“If we really want to maximize our personal cancer-protecting effort, we must choose the foods that will work for our benefit and eliminate the foods that are working against us. We have seen that societies that regularly consume meat, high in fat dairy products, and saturated fats . . . . have the highest rates of cancer. . . .
“Only by changing from the typical American animal-based diet to a plant-based diet will we achieve the results we want…
“Coupling this diet with regular aerobic exercise will boost the immune system even further. Rounding out the program with adequate stress control, moderate sunlight, weight control, and decreasing snacks and meal frequency will maximize the preventive potential.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right. All of us are indeed capable of changing our behavior for the good, especially when we know what benefits may result. The personal stakes are high – it is a life and death matter – my life, your life, and the lives of our children and loved ones. The message is clear and it calls for action. The time to act is now.”
Laugh A Lot
Believe it or not, the Bible has something to say about being happy:
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
~ Proverbs 17:22
I try to keep a smile on my face and a happy spirit no matter what the situation or circumstance. When I was conducting six health seminars in Australia some years ago, I was in the airport returning home and they had for sale in the airport terminal a CD of ballads. One of them had a ballad with a song titled “He’s Got Wrinkles from Smiling.”
I purchased the CD and whenever anyone asks why, “If I am on the Hallelujah Diet, I have wrinkles?” My response is, “I’ve got wrinkles from smiling!” 🙂
A sour puss or a down-trodden spirit is not conducive to a healthy body or mind or a positive outlook on life.
Be Careful What You Think
There is a lot of talk and many books on “positive thinking”. Many of these books are excellent, but you can go too far in this area. But it’s true – what you think about most often, you become. The Bible puts it this way in Proverbs 23:7:
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
When people ask me how I am doing, my response is almost always “terrific.” And if I don’t always feel “terrific” when they ask, just saying it helps me feel “terrific.”
Some of the people at church even address me as “Mr. Terrific.”
Don’t Forget The Spiritual
I’ve left the most important ingredients for last.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour 57 years ago and He has been my best friend and guide all these many years. I don’t know how anyone can face their senior years without Him!
Rhonda and I end each and every day kneeling beside our bed, praying! The first words from my lips each morning are “Thank you Lord for keeping us safe and well through the night and thank you for another day in which to serve you!”
Our church is also a very important part of Rhonda’s and my life. We are in church every Sunday morning for Sunday School and morning service. We are back for the Sunday evening service and the Wednesday evening service as well as for special events.
When we are away from home and out of town for my first Saturday of the month seminars, even when in North Carolina (seven hours from home), I always drive back home after the seminar Saturday afternoon, sometimes not getting home until late evening, so that we won’t miss church services the next day.
Years ago when I was affiliated with Jack Wyrtzen’s Word of Life, I was instrumental in starting the very first Word of Life Bible Club. In those Bible Club meetings I used to encourage young people with a message based on this Bible verse:
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
~ Ecclesiastes 12:1
Fortunately, it is never too late to turn to Christ unless you wait too long to do so. Because once death occurs it is too late!
All senior citizens should make sure things are right with God and that they are serving Him. Then when death comes, it is an easy transition from this life to the next life.
Now I know that I am not going to live forever in this body on this earth, but this I do know for a certainty: that I am going to live in this body until I die. The eventual death of this physical body is a given fact. The Bible makes that abundantly clear in Hebrews 9:27:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Now God is not saying here that He has appointed a time when we each shall die, but rather that all men will die – that is their physical body will die – unless Jesus returns before bodily death occurs. (For more reading on this thought, see I Thessalonians 4:13-18.)
But please remember: There is no place in Scripture that says we cannot extend or lengthen our life and time in this earthly body on this earth. The facts are that with good nutrition and exercise we can extend our time in this life and on this earth, fulfilling the ministry God has called us to.
My plan is to keep this body alive and functioning as well as possible by doing everything I can, with the knowledge I have, to keep my body fit for the Master’s use until the day I die. My desire is that when I die and stand in the presence of the Lord, He will be able to say:
“Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”
~ Matthew 25:23
I know that “someday” this old body will die — what then?
Fifty-seven years ago I made preparation for that “someday” at a Billy Graham Crusade rally in Madison Square Garden, in New York City, at the age of 23. That night, kneeling on the concrete floor next to a folding metal chair I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me for my sin, to come into my heart, and save me.
If you are not already made preparations to die, see: “How to become a Christian“.
Right now I am doing my best to stay alive and healthy as long as I can so that I can serve my Saviour and others here on this earth as long as I can, and when that last breath is taken, and my heart beats that last beat, and my earthly life is over, I know I will be absent from the body and present with the Lord.
The words of the song sum it up better than I can:
- When all my labors and trials are o’er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
Oh, that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me,
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.
- When, by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
- Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet just a smile from my Savior, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
You can’t be ready to live until you are ready to die, and you are not ready to die until you have made preparation for the next life!
See: “How to become a Christian”
Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creek doesn’t rise too high, we will return with another exciting issue of the Hallelujah Health Tip. Trust you will join us and that you will share these Health Tips with friends and loved ones.