10 Tips to Live a Healthy, Long Life, from an Octogenarian Couple Who Knows
We are Bob and Fran German, healthy-aging advocates, mentors, and authors of the book 101 Ways to Be Young at Any Age! Practical Wisdom to Reverse Your Aging, STARTING NOW! We are both in our 80's and feel better than ever! During our lifetimes we have raised a family, enjoyed successful careers, traveled to over 75 counties and become human rights activists, martial artists, mediators, negotiators, students and teachers in the Buddhist tradition, vegans, public speakers, and created our ACT project to Abolish Child Trafficking.
We have experienced numerous exciting adventures learned from many incredible wisdom teachers, and have overcome life's inevitable challenges including life-threatening illnesses. We are profoundly grateful to have been touched by countless wise and unforgettable people, near and far.
So, long ago we made it our intention to stay young in mind, body, heart, and spirit. Now, after many very happy and purposeful years, we are doing better than ever and feeling younger than ever, even as we enter our ninth decade on this planet! We are honored to share with others whatever knowledge and wisdom we have gained.
We continually “live young” and lead happy, healthy, and meaningful lives. You can do it, too. We are often asked what we personally do to stay young in body, mind, and attitude. Our answer is found in these 10 tips that we would like to share with you, designed to add more years to your life and more life to your years.
For more tips from Bob and Fran German, subscribe to their Youtube channel, Young At Any Age.
1. Eat as if Your Life Depends on it
Because it does: Use the power of food and make the right food choices by transitioning to a whole food plant-based eating lifestyle. This can help prevent and even reverse chronic disease and obesity. Getting older does not have to mean getting sicker.
2. Keep it Moving
Sitting is the new smoking, especially at a time when more and more people in the U.S. are working fro home. So, get off your butt and your “buts” (excuses)! Start with morning stretches and then enjoy some aerobic exercise every day – walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming. Chair exercises are good, too. Also, get outdoors in the fresh air and embrace what nature has to offer. Add being outside moving in nature as a part of your daily regimen and stick to it!
3. Reduce Stress with Meditation
Stress can increase the risk of illness. Ongoing mindfulness practice can be an effective way to relieve stress. Mindfulness means maintaining a heightened awareness of the present moment without rehashing the past or worrying about the future. It is paying attention to where we are and what we’re doing now without judging or over-reacting. Meditation is a training method for mindfulness and we encourage a daily meditation practice to help reduce stress levels.
4. Practice Qigong to Cultivate Energy
Discover how to connect the mind and body. Make your own medicine through the Power of Qigong ("chee gong"). Learn and practice this ancient Chinese wellness system of self- healing to prevent illness and overcome discomfort and disease. It's easy and fun and has a wealth of health benefits.
5. Make Sleep a Priority
Stick to a schedule of 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Lack of restorative sleep can adversely affect your mood, vitality, mental sharpness, and physical well-being. Your bedroom should be only for sleep and sex. It should be dark, cool, quiet, and without any electronic devices (TV, phones, computers), as they can disrupt your sleep. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugary foods, and drinking lots of fluids prior to bedtime. Enjoy a pre-sleep routine like a warm bath or reading to help you unwind.
6. Choose Happiness Now
Happiness is not a goal or destination, it is the journey! In every situation we have a choice to be happy or not. It's about intention, attitude, and how you want to live your life. Happiness is not about getting what you desire, but about enjoying what you have. Reflecting on all that you are grateful for every day helps to achieve this. Practicing gratitude in a daily journal entry can help you realize just how much you have to be thankful for.
7. Serve Others
Accomplish this by volunteering at local agencies, aiding friends and neighbors in need, being more financially generous, doing random acts of kindness, and lifting the spirits of others. When you assist someone, it takes the focus off yourself. Your action makes them feel good and you will feel good, too. Make it an everyday goal to help someone, friend or stranger, in some way, no matter how small.
8. Say "Yes" to Life
Try new things – big or small. Meet new people. Embark on new adventures. Embrace new ideas, places, and ways. Also, keep learning by attending classes and discovering new interests, concepts, and perspectives. Expand your mind and your knowledge through education. Consider teaching others and sharing your wisdom as well.
9. Go with the Flow
Acceptance without resistance to all experiences that flow into your being is the key to inner peace and tranquility. Strive to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be or what you desire it to be. Continually try to row your boat downstream – with the flow – rather than upstream against it.
10. Live Your Best Life
Live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Act out your personal passions and purpose and enjoy the experience of positive personal growth. Whatever your age, do what you love and love what you do.
We encourage you to take time to reflect on the quality and satisfaction of the lifestyle we are leading. Ask yourself, ”Can my health and energy be better?” “ Do I look and feel as good as I should?” “Why am I feeling so old for my age?” or “Is my life as enriching and enjoyable as I want it to be?” This introspection is valuable and most often leads to some needed changes.
If you are not at the level of health and contentment where you want to be at this time of your life, then it may be time to make some changes. Use our “ten tips” list as a guideline. It is never too early or late to change your health and your life – starting now and at any age. It's all up to you and the choices you make.