Just how healthy are you nowadays?
Can you remember the time when you were really young and you had boundless energy?
Do you still go through life with a bounce in your step?
Today I am sharing with you the story of my father who had boundless energy and went through life with a bounce in his step. He was actually a radio DJ in his sixties in his home town, and would have still carried on if given the chance.
He was indeed the oldest DJ in town!
So what was my late father’s secret for longevity and zest for life?
I am reminded of him today as right now I am writing this from the very desk that he used to write from until his last days when he was almost 80 years old.
It’s already over 2 years since his untimely death and a lot has happened since then as I have tried to get my life back together again.
Though I will always have my father’s lessons in compassion, one of his many legacies for me was his way of living, his zest for life and his energy that would put to shame people half his age.
You are never too old to be fit and healthy.
And it’s never too late to start looking after your health and fitness.
Today, as I am finally able to look back on my father’s life with fondness rather than sadness, I am reminded of his health habits which we can all learn from:-
1. Get up Early
The earlier you get up the fuller your day. My father used to wake up every morning at 4am and then meditate for a couple of hours, do his morning stretches, followed by a half hour walk around the local park. He would then have his breakfast around 7am, a time at which most people are still in bed!
I grant you that 4am might be pushing it a bit for most people, but why not get up an hour earlier that what you do now.
How about 4.30 then?!
Then you must check out how my friend and mentor, Steven Aitchinson who runs the UK’s number 1 personal development blog, gets up at 4.30 am everday of the week and gets so much done. Read what Steven says about the 5 benefits of being an early riser.
On a personal note, I am also getting up an hour earlier each day than I used too. One day I would like to be able to get up as early as Steven and my father.
In a future article soon, I shall cover my experiment in getting up early in more detail and let you know my learnings and future suggestions for you.
2. Review your Eating Habits
Eat frugally and eat healthy food. But just what does “healthy food” mean to you?
A while ago I read about the The China Study, the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted and the startling implications for diet, weight loss and long-term health.
This study is quite an eye opener about why we should all follow a plant based diet. My father followed just such a diet and I do believe that a key for his longevity and vigour was that he was a vegetarian all his life.
I am not advocating that all of you also become a vegetarian like I am, but please do review how often and how much meat you do consume.
Reduce your intake of animal products and you will definitely notice significant improvements in your health.
Apart from that, do cut down on processed foods and do eat a lot more fresh food. Of course more fruit and vegetables too.
My father also used to drink a lot of water, so make that part of daily habits. Of course, reduce your intake of coffee and fizzy drinks.
On a personal note, though I am already a vegetarian, I am experimenting by cutting out all dairy products this month and following a vegan diet. I shall write about this experience in a future article.
3. Reduce your Alcohol Intake
My father was a teetotaller all his life – except once when at a cousin’s wedding, his older brother (who lived to 102) offered him a sip of brandy.
My father accepted out of respect, but that was the one and only time I ever saw him have anything alcoholic.
Incidentally, at the same time, I politely declined the offer of a drink out of respect to my father! This is what makes me so proud of my Indian heritage – we have our own quirky but noble ways of showing our respect to our elders.
Watch how much alcohol you consume – even cutting down by 10 to 20 percent will make a huge difference to your body.
On a personal note, I have hardly drunk over the last few years, except for the odd glass of champagne. Recently at a friend’s wedding, I had a sip of wine and almost instantly I had a headache. My body was telling me that this stuff was toxic for my body. So now I will just stick to water.
4. Exercise Daily
My father loved his daily walks – and he did yoga till his last days. It always used to amuse us to watch him do this stretches, and his brisk runs on the spot.
Early morning walks are wonderful for getting your day off to a great start and I highly recommend that you take this up, especially if you choose to get up an hour earlier.
Start gently and build up your exercise regime and see how much better you feel. Your body is for life – why not start treating it well from today?
5. Have a Wide Range of Interests
One of my father’s enduring qualities was his interest in other people and in current affairs from around the world.
He was very well read and could speak on those topics he was passionate about for hours on end with no notes. He often spoke at community events and only three weeks before he passed away, he presented a 10 minute spiritual lecture at a Diwali celebration.
So cultivate an interest in the world around you and the people in your life – you will definitely feel and look younger.
Take a leaf from the 87 year old man who gatecrashed our family wedding a fwe weeks ago.
Be alive and interested in the world around you – and in other people.
6. Learn to Relax and Meditate
My father meditated for a few hours each day for the last 30 years of his life. Now that’s quite a bit of accumulated meditation hours!
He also belonged to a spiritual community of likeminded people and he was very active with this group.
How about starting your own regime of meditation from today onwards? Simply take 10 minutes each day to start with. Mornings are best, but see if you can also do night time too, before you go to sleep.
Then you can gradually build up as you wish. Who knows – by the time you are in your seventies, you too could be meditating up to a few hours each day.
If it helps, then find a community of like minded people who will support you in your efforts to meditate and relax.
I am not advocating that you suddenly become all “spiritual” – whatever that means. All I am suggesting is that a bit of time spent meditating and relaxing each day will really help you in all areas of your life.
7. Have a Sense of Fun
This is quote key – you must have a sense of fun and enjoy life no matter what it brings to you.
My father had an impish sense of humour and this stood him in good stead through some tough times. He also liked being with people and visiting places.
And of course he was a radio DJ too!
So look at your own life and see where you can bring more fun and lightness into your life.
My challenge to you for the next month
Here’s my challenge for you for the month of August.
Review and change one life habit which will really impact your life. Here are some suggestions:-
Could you cut out alcohol completely this month?
What about abstaining from meat?
How about getting up an hour earlier each morning?
Please publicly state your commitments below by add your comments – and then we can review at the end of the month.
Start taking baby steps from today – and see how much your life improves immediately. You know it makes sense in the long term.
And then one day YOU too can be the oldest DJ in town!
Photo courtesy of Jamal Ahmed