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.
Lighten up and light up the world.
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
There is a very popular woman DJ – who I believe has even played some top clubs – in her 70’s – her name escapes me – but really why not fully embrace life at any age – well posted Arvind.
Davide, welcome to my blog and thanks for your first ever comment.
Indeed, why not embrace life at any age?
But to be able to do so at an old age, we all need to take care of ourselves at a much younger age i.e. from today onwards.
Let’s meet up soon for our regular walks in the park – maybe at 6am!
Arvind, This is such important information. I am a firm believer that what we eat dramatically impacts our health. I think it is often the answer to causing, and healing disease. This is not a very popular attitude, because changing food habits is really challenging! When I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, I learned all I could about inflammatory, auto-immune disease (including reading The China Study). I stopped eating all beef, poultry, and pork and cut out almost all dairy. Last year I dropped seafood and became a vegetarian. Today 4 years later, my MS has not progressed. I am also on conventional treatment, but am convinced that changing my eating habits changed the course of my disease.
I am on the tail end of a 40 day dairy free challenge, because I love cheese but know that I am better without it.
My next challenge (committing publicly!) is to wake up earlier. I typically wake up between 6:15 and 7:00. So now, I will wake at 6am everyday (starting small!). Hopefully by the end of the year, I will be up at 5!
Courtney, welcome back to my blog.
Great to hear that you have managed to control MS – and I am convinced too that this was mainly due to your changed eating habits.
I used to eat meat but very rarely, and when I cut it out 11 years ago, my health improved almost overnight. Cutting out milk led to an even mor edramatic improvment as I used to suffer from an upset stomach.
Maybe we shoud buddy up and make sure we are both able to get up by 5am by the end of the year:-)
I read somewhere that over 70% of people who drink milk cannot actually digest it – and it really lines up the stomach. So cutting out milk is probably one of the best things someone can do.
I have now cut out all dairy for 5 days and it’s actually easy to avoid all those cheeses, chocolates and biscuits.
Well done for completeling your 40 day dairy free challenge! And best of luck with your getting up early challenge.
From your past and current posts about your father, I can tell you were close to him and he seems like a great guy. I too like him have wide interests! thanks for sharing these tips to live well.
Preeti, yes I was close to my father but still wish I had got to know him a lot better. He was a great guy – and young at heart.
Glad you too have wide interests – and from my awareness of your personality and lifestyle from your blog, I reckon that you too will be rocking to a ripe old age:-)
Great advice! I’ll take your challenge. Starting with 10 minute daily meditations. I love how it calms the mind. I just never make the time for it. I will starting tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration.
Carol, welcome to my blog!
Great that you have taken up my challenge, starting with yuor 10 minute daily meditations.
Do let me know how you get one. Lets spread the word and get more people meditating every day:-)
I loved reading about your father, Arvind. What a delightful man. But then, his son is so delightful that I should not be surprised. Good luck with rising earlier. I’ve been rising between 4-5 most mornings this summer, and it’s made a wonderful difference in my life. I spilled my secrets on Hulbert Lee’s early riser interview series, but for me, the biggest help was to put the alarm in a different room so I had to get up and walk quite a ways to turn it off.
This month I’ve been transitioning from vegetarian eating to veganism, so I’ll continue on with that as my self-proclaimed healthy habit. Which reminds me, it’s time to go fix a delicious meal!
Thanks Jean – you are always so kind with your words.
I am not surprised to hear that you get up so early in the morning – since you seem to pack in so much in your life!
I shall check out Hulbert Lee’s interview series and learn how you do it – I could certainly do with some more help as I pursue my quest of getting up much earlier.
And funny that you too are migrating to being a vegan from just being a vegetarian. I shall let you know how I got on at the end of August:-)
Your words really make your father come alive for me. He sounds like a wonderful man, and in you he has a son to be proud of!
Your call to action has inspired me to publicly commit to resuming a daily meditation practice. I’ll start with just 10 minutes to insure a successful beginning. Thanks for galvanizing me into action!
Eileen, thanks for your kind words about my father and me. Can you see me blushing right now?!
Great that you are now galvanised into action and you have publicly committed to resuming a daily meditation practice.
I shall be checking up on you at the end of August:-)
Great post Arvind.
What you mention are the building blocks of the healthy life. Your body cannot do anything properly without them. You are what you eat and if your diet is high refined carbohydrate and sugar then you have a recipe for ill health.
Society seems to put a label on age and that begins at forty. Once you reach sixty then you are in the waiting room of death.
Age is mind over matter and if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.
One of the worst things you can do when you reach that age is to believe you are old and act like it as well. The mind is the most powerful aging agent in the universe.
I believe that if we spent half the time investing in our health instead of worrying about it, then we all would live to be long in the tooth.
Andre, as you say your body cannot do anything without the above building blocks for a healthy life.
So much of the western world’s health problems are linked to a diet high in highly refined carbohydrate and sugar.
Life actually begins at 40 – and 50 is the new 40, so life begins at 50!
I love what you say about age is mind over matter – if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. So the best thing to do at any age is to be young at heart – abd behave in a young manner.
Time for all us to spend more time investing in our health rather than worrying about it – starting with my challenges for August:-)
I have never thought that age was an indicator of how you should live your life. My husband and I have 3 adult children, and I don’t feel any different health wise than I did when I was in my mid twenties.
I don’t think of myself as old – I love having birthdays to celebrate another year on this earth. There are many unfortunately that don’t get to have this privilege.
I like your monthly challenge. This is something my husband and I do on a regular basis. Sometimes it is cutting out watching television, increasing our exercise, and yes, sometimes even going without alcohol for a time. We also both meditate on a daily basis. This has been our most important change we made to our lives.
I enjoyed reading this post, and will be back. Thank you
Welcome to my blog Brenda and thanks for your kind words about this post.
As you say, age should never be an indicator of how you should live your life. You must be very youthful and young at heart:-)
Here’s to another birthday – and also check out how to make everyday your birthday:-
Monthly challenges are very useful for making soem quick changes in our life which are actually long-lasting.
Good luck with your own going monthly challenges – continue to watch less tv, exercise more, abstain from alcohol and meditate daily.
And maybe also find a spot on your local radio station as a DJ:-)
congratulations on getting your blog onto the homepage of the daily brainstorm! I can see why though, your article is really inspiring. Compared to my life out in London, I’ve began a leaf diet, not so much on purpose but more so because the heat out here puts me off the thought of eating anything heavy. I’ve been out here a week now and I’m starting to feel like much healthier than I used to, I’ve even cut down on alcohol as it’s just too warm out here, so when I drink I get very dehydrated and I don’t like that feeling. As a result, I feel as though I’m coming back to the weight was at before, I’ve been going out for runs, sleeping earlier than I used to and waking up earlier too (admittedly not 4am)….
So when are you coming out to visit?
Great to know that in your new life in the south of France, you have turned over a new leaf!
Time for you to eat healthy and finally get healthy. Continue with your running too. Next is for you to start getting up at 4am:-)
And yes, a visit to south of France is on the cards soon…watch this space.
PS I heard the French don’t do much for vegans, so I may have to eat just leaves during my time there.
Thanks for the uplifting post! However, it may not be for the reason you think.
My adult life’s challenge appears to be how to have chronic pain conditions and still have the joyful, productive and healthy life I am meant to have. To grow into the person I am meant to be, not in spite of, but simply with the conditions I have. (Note that I say “I have,” not that “I am.”)
As I read your list, I found myself saying, “I do that one” for six out of seven! That feels so good, and affirms the path I’m on. Thank you for that. I’m working on #7, having more fun, by remembering I can choose how I see and react to the events in my life. I can choose to not be a victim to circumstances, but rather look at life and the world more lightly and less seriously. (A brand new kitty helps, too!)
Thanks again, Arvind, and keep up the great work.
Welcome to my blog, Annie.
Thanks for clarifying why you found this post uplifting.
Great that despite the challenge of chronic pain conditions, you are still able to have the joyful, productive and healthy life you were meant to have.
Wonderful that you distinguished between having the conditions you have, and not being them. This is where a lot of people suffer unnecessarily as their condition becomes them and their entire life revolves around it.
They also take life too seriously and go around felling all heavy.
For you now, it’s clearly time for even more fun in your life:-)
This is a brilliant post. I am a medical herbalist and spend a lot of my time trying to change peoples paradigms with the regards to their health…….the above pretty much summarises what I am trying to tell them!
I will commit to drinking no alcohol this month – although I’m not a big drinker, my boyfriend and I share a bottle of wine a couple of nights a week, but not for the next month:) Will be good for him too!
Best wishes and thank-you for your blog, I always find it inspiring and really resonates with me.
Kate, glad that we are in agreement – especially since you are a medical herbalist. The findings of the China Study could revolutionise our diets – if more people around the world take up its findings.
Great that your boyfriend is also going to join you in refraining from alcohol for this month.
Right now I can’t even stand the thought of having another alcoholic drink – how times change. I reckon as you shift to a different level in your life, your body naturally rejects what’s not good for it.
While in school I will be cutting down my meat in take (the only meat I eat is fish) to once a week. This is more than just August though.
Justin, welcome back to my blog.
Great that you are cutting down on your meat intake to just once a week in the month of August.
Interesting that you don’t make the distintion between meat and fish. I know a lot of “vegetarians” who claim to be vegetarians but who still eat fish!
They are what I call fishatarians:-)
I was a DJ for over a decade in the 60’s & 70’s. I know how stressful such a job can be. The worry over ratings alone can take a big toll. Thanks for sharing your Dad’s story.
Welcome to my blog Bob – and great to meet another youthful, rocking DJ:-)
It can be a stressful job as you say but my late father was doing this as a hobby. And this is in the days of cassette tapes – and we still have a case full of his recordings. MAybe one day we will listen to them all again.
Hi Arvind – great post. We stopped eating meat about four months ago. We still have the tiniest amount of goats’ fetta on a few things. We are also on raw food until dinner time (well, at least until after winter. Raw in a cold Canberra winter is rather difficult!).
Last week we went to a friend’s birthday party (at a restauramnt) and we both felt sick afterwards. Of course this means that our social life is under challenge!!!!
You know, I watch people at work eating absolute garbage for morning tea – cold meats, processed dips, white bread and all kinds of cake. These are people who always complain about their weight, and keep the local gyms in business. They put my frame down to good luck, which is absolute rubbish. I could be just as they are if I pursued their kind of diet.
Wonderful, incidental changes have happend for us since changing our eating habits. More on that later!
Maria, thanks for sharing your story.
Nowadays, I hardly eat out as like you I don’t feel that great afterwards.
As you say, it’s amazing what people eat and then complain about their weight. However more and more people are now learning about eating properly and I really do believe that the right messages are getting through.
I look forward to hearing more about the wonderful incidental changes that have happened to you since changing your eating habits.
Hi! I am vegetarian, I don’t drink alcohol or caffeine, and I try to exercise daily (except for this week :D). I guess I’m half way there but I could work on getting up early. I’m a morning person (6 am) but I’ve been trying to bring it down to a 5 am rise and shine. This will be my challenge this coming week. Thanks for motivating me to do better. Loving blessings and much love!Andrea
Andrea, welcome to my blog – and thanks for sharing about the habits you have already cultivated. Halfway house is good:-)
Getting up early is a challenge a lot of people face, including me – so watch out for more articles where I will share about cultivating ways of getting up early.
Good luck Andrea – and blessings to you too:-)
My children and I were at the beach on a sunny day. As we swam and played, a lady well into her late 60’s came to the shore, alone, in her wetsuit and toting a surf board. She paddled out to the surf on her board, then had a huge grin as she surfed the smaller waves into shore. She would paddle back out again, leave the bigger waves for the younger boys, and ride the small ones back to shore again and again. Each time with a smile on her face. When she was finished, she plopped down on her towel on the sandy beach, splayed out while she dried off in the sun..with the same huge grin from ear to ear..I couldn’t help but smile with her..*That* is the joy I currently have..and the energy and zest for life I hope to retain regardless of my physical age..Much like your father who is an example to us all..Thank you for sharing:)
Joy, welcome to my blog – and thanks for sharing your wonderful story of joy.
I can just visualise that young at heart woman having a fabulous time amongst the waves.
Now there’s a lesson for all of us. Maybe it’s high time I learnt to swim:-)
Arvind: Your dad sounds like a great mentor and role model for all of us to follow. I think it is always great to see how other people lived in a great way and learn from them by emulating what worked for them. The list you shared was filled with so much great information and posts. I am trying to work to get up a little earlier myself everyday so I am looking forward to your upcoming post on that:) I am definitely up to taking the challenge. Great post.
Thanks Sibyl – my father was certainly a great mentor for us to follow.
And yes look out for that post soon about getting up earlier. Lets both take up the challenge:-)
Hey Arvind, It feels as if you’re reading my mind with this post. I completely subscribe to the idea of eating a healthful diet and keeping active physically, mentally, and socially at any age. As Annie commented above, I’m already doing 6 of the 7 things you listed.
So what to commit to? I notice you didn’t mention have more sex as an option, so I think I’ll commit to meditating every day for 15 minutes or more. I used to do it years ago, and I think it would be a great benefit for me.
P.S. I haven’t given up chicken, as you can see from my last blog post.
Madeleine, it seems many of you readers out there are already doing up to 6 of the 7 things I wrote about.
Keep it up – and commit to an extra 15 minutes of meditation every day – or an extra hour of sex every day – whatever works for you:-)
And maybe in time, you will also give up the chicken.