Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring April 2016 - Growth - Page 30

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Getting Older

is Inevitable,

Aging is Optional.

Nicci Robertson

When one talks about ageing well, images of face lifts and rejuvenation therapies automatically spring to mind. Getting older is inevitable and we all undergo changes with time, yet what we are referring to here is not about aesthetics but the very real possibility of living healthily into your nineties, pain free, independent, mentally astute and disease free.

Medical science is keeping us alive but it is not keeping us well. As a world population we are living a good 40 years longer than we did in the 1950’s. Yet lifestyle related disease is at its’ highest levels in human history. It is important to understand that allopathic medicine is the science of fixing what is broken. While functional medicine is all about prevention, not getting broken in the first place.

Mainstream medicine may keep the heart beating and the lungs functioning but it is not adding to our quality of life, that only we can do when we take responsibility for our health.

Unfortunately in this age of “a pill for every ill” most of us believe that if we carry on taking our medication we will be fine. In fact we believe that we can continue to eat what we like and the drugs will take care of the cholesterol and sugar damage. What your doctor won’t tell you or maybe doesn’t even realise is that a drug’s efficacy is in parallel to its’ toxicity. In other words a drug that works really well at managing LDL cholesterol is also really good at damaging your liver. But that is a subject for another day entirely.

People have come to accept mental and physical decline as an inevitable part of life, which is simply not the case. It has been said that babies being born now will live well into their hundreds.

Most of us cringe at the thought of living that long. Visions of living semi-cognitive, having to wear incontinence pads and depending on others is no way to live. Yet this does not have to be the case.

The average fifty year old, believes that middle age spread and a slow metabolism are unavoidable. When in truth they are simply a function of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. The simple truth is that the metabolic process is dependent on several factors, namely: our level of daily activity; what we choose to eat and how often; the amount of quality sleep we get; and lean muscle mass. If these are maintained, metabolism need never decrease and we continue to burn fat and maintain hormone levels that are optimal for good health.

The ageing process is inevitably complex. Extensive research over several decades has resulted in numerous theories regarding ageing.

In complex, multicellular organisms such as humans, the study of interactions among genetic versus environmental factors provides a more easily accessible understanding of the ageing process.

What we do know is that it is possible to delay the onset of functional decline and to prolong the life span by focussing on specific areas that are indicative of the ageing process. Namely molecular, cellular and mitochondrial ageing. All three of these areas are directly influenced by environmental factors and respond accordingly when we take the appropriate action. This includes reducing free radical damage by consuming anti-oxidants, protecting our mitochondria and optimising the

endocrine system.