Aging is Not a Disease

by Steven Carney on November 10, 2014

This is post #113 on the site, about aging myths and why aging is not a disease. This site is a collection of breakthrough articles and resources at your fingertips! Feel free to browse the vast amount of information and resources here.

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We live in a society filled with myths of aging. Those myths are repeated daily, by media, by medical practitioners, and many others. If you are over 40, you’ve already heard them thousands of times.

The fictional storyline so often repeated is that age brings decline in areas from weight gain and less energy, to deteriorating muscles, joint pain and stiffness, poor sleep, a weaker immune system, more chronic disease like high BP, diabetes, ED, a faltering mind and memory, etc. In short, the claims are that aging alone is the cause of general decline and loss of function and ability.

But did you ever ask yourself, “Is it all real?” Is all this physical and mental decline as inevitable as we are told it is?

The answer is no!

Although decline can happen with age, it is NOT inevitable just because you’re a few years older. The symptoms are not simply a result of aging. They are more directly a result of your daily habits and decisions, especially nutrition, activity, and the like. This post will hopefully inspire you that you, and only you can choose your life path as you age, especially your health, and whether you succumb to the self-serving myths and platitudes you’ve heard all your life.

At any time you choose, you can stand tall and proclaim: “I plan to live better as I age, not worse (yes, you can do that)! I’ll make different choices” (yes, you can make better ones)! Indeed, you can choose a different life and outcome! I certainly have. And it works! I don’t look my age, I’m more fit and active than I was 10-20 years ago, and my mind and body are functioning well.

Is it difficult to overcome the aging most people expect or experience? No, not really. It all boils down to your daily habits and choices, often the small things you do every day that don’t enhance your health or longevity. Make the right choices that work best for your bodily needs every day and you will reap great results.

Make the wrong choices and you are more likely to get the results listed above: that age is like a disease, full of limitations, an expanding waistline, deteriorating muscles, fading energy, and a faltering mind and memory, more disease, etc.

As part of my goal to inspire you to appreciate your body more, here are some initial, eye-popping facts about your body. Please ponder how incredibly complex and amazing your body is (I’ll add more from the list later on):

  • You have about 60,000 miles (yes miles) of blood vessels to maintain. They can span the globe 2 times
  • Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day, day in and day out to keep you alive and supply your organs and cells with oxygen and nutrients, so appreciate and care for this vital organ
  • You have more than 200 bones and 600 muscles that all need your care and attention every day

I’m hoping those initial body facts will get you thinking about how incredibly complex your body is. It’s far more complex than your car or smart phone. Think about it, neither your car or phone can repair themselves. You have to drop them off and explain what’s wrong. But you can repair your own body in a myriad of ways, from less weight, more energy and fewer infections, to avoiding most chronic disease, and looking and feeling younger.

I’ll include more incredible body facts later, but if you look at this initial batch, I hope you really consider how much TLC you need to give yourself if you want to maintain all those complex systems at their peak.

For example, your heart (the myocardium) is a unique muscle, capable of sustaining your life and the critical flow of blood, as it beats about once per second. But for that to happen correctly, that unique muscle needs a good supply of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and proteins. Managing stress levels and keeping inflammation low are also key (most adults have high systemic inflammation), which is like a chronic state of infection. That problem alone can help drive most of the chronic disease and aging in older adults.

Unfortunately, most people don’t give their hearts optimum nutrition or enough exercise so that nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and stress hormones all contribute to heart dysfunction, including a lack of strength, tone and unsteady rhythms.   

Just know this: If your heart falters or fails, you can be dead in a few minutes! So this is literally about life and death. For too many, their first heart attack is their last! You won’t always get a second chance. So never take your heart for granted!

Do you want to be healthy and fit as you age?

Hopefully, your answer is “Yes” to this critical question. If so, I’m here to remind you that it’s not hard to do! It’s about having the right attitude and daily habits. Your body is a machine designed to work, repair and heal, but it takes the right formula. And you need to follow through.

Don’t drugs help?

Too often, people think the answer to their aches, pains and ailments is modern medicine and pills. But in reality, your daily habits and lifestyle determine your health (good or bad), not drugs. Remember, drugs treat symptoms but almost never cure the underlying cause or origin. This is by intent. The drug companies want long-term dependence and your money. So those pills won’t restore your health because they aren’t meant to. See my recent post on Medicine and Pseudoscience: New Insights or my post called, 5 Big Medical Lies, both linked below. You’ll be shocked by what you learn.

I hope you are beginning to see how much power you have. It’s true! You’re in charge of you. Your capabilities for health, wellness and repair are amazing, almost limitless! So why not do all that you can to protect the amazing, complex system that you are?

Talk to your genes

For optimal health, learn to talk to your genes every day. It sounds crazy but it’s true. That’s because every meal, every snack or drink you have, every bit of exercise, your stress levels, your sleep, and even your thinking all have direct effects on your genes.

There is a lot of research showing how lifestyle behaviors and choices activate health or disease genes. Here are a few sections from my post called, For Long Life, Talk to Your Genes (see link below for full article):

Genetic activity goes way beyond your hair, eye color or build. Thousands of genes regulate your metabolism and bodily functions every hour of the day. Many genes act as on/off switches based on the choices and decisions you make. And that gene activity is significant for determining your health, energy/vitality, brain and organ function, mood, whether you get sick or stay well, etc.

So by learning how to talk to (and love) your genes, you can have the life and future you desire, including great health, energy and sound sleep, often free of chronic disease and pain, well into old age. When you talk to your genes, they respond! And know this: Aging as we think of it is largely a myth. Experts say that about 80% of all chronic disease is not from inherited genes or age, it’s from lifestyle! And we already know the secrets to a long, healthy life today!

Genes become activated or silenced through a process of gene methylation and histones. For example, every meal you eat causes thousands of genes to spring into action! It’s the same for exercise, stress and sleep. The field of epigenetics has been researching these important connections for several years now. The findings will surely surprise you because the answers to most health issues are right under your nose!

Even more important is how lifestyle choices work synergistically as each lifestyle area relates to the others, affecting genes beyond those each area affects directly. That’s why a healthy, optimized lifestyle is so powerful! It can literally change your life and boost health from the bottom up, often in a matter of a few weeks!

Here is another quote from that same article, as it summarizes the effects of lifestyle on genes and gene activation (called epigenetics) pretty well:

Lifestyle and environmental factors can expose a person to chemical tags that change the epigenome. In other words, your epigenome may change based on what you eat and drink, whether you smoke, what medicines you take, what pollutants you encounter and even how quickly your body ages. . .

Most epigenomic changes are probably harmless, but some changes may trigger or increase the severity of disease. Researchers already have linked changes in the epigenome to various cancers, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and mental illnesses.

You probably don’t realize how significantly your hourly and daily choices affect your cells and genes directly and profoundly. And those lifestyle choices not only have direct affects on your health and quality of life in each lifestyle area, each lifestyle area influences the other areas and your health directly.

You are a tapestry of complex functions and synergy, which is truly awe-inspiring! And it means that a series of small steps to improve your habits in key areas can give you big results and long-term benefits that no drugs can ever achieve! I live this way and it’s not hard. Yet the benefits are significant and keep me going. I don’t look me age, and I don’t feel my age.

Here are a few more body facts to help inspire you

  • You have 45 miles of nerves in the body; the brain has 100-billion brain neurons and all those cells need lots of TLC throughout your life
  • Each square inch of skin has over 1,000 nerve cells
  • Some nerve impulses move at almost 200 MPH
  • Your digestive tract has many billions of bacteria; the healthy/unhealthy ratio based on diet and lifestyle
  • About 70% of your immune system is in your gut, dependent on those healthy bacteria

So if you connect these nerve and cellular body facts to the heart, circulatory and musclo-skeletal systems, I hope you reconnect with yourself in an inspirational way. Our most complex machines can’t do what your body can do! It really is a marvel of engineering. It’s unique and special, and you can’t be replaced!

And I don’t care how old you are, you can regain lost energy, vitality and health if you have lost it. It’s your choice and no one else’s! If you are motivated to improve your health or recover from an injury, it can often be done if you want it! And I can help you set goals and reach them.

Stories of change and recovery 

I have overcome several big challenges later in life as have many others. So I thought I’d add a few of those stories here, so you can see these things in action. The first is from my previous post about Living to be 100.

It’s a story about Jaring Timmerman, an inspired older male who took up swimming in his 70s and has won all kinds of medals. He is 100-years-young (actually 105), a Canadian swimmer who broke a new world record in the backstroke recently. What’s truly amazing is that he was a late bloomer, becoming involved in swimming in his late 70s! He has won over 150 medals and a great example of how you’re never too old to start something new and succeed at it!

He attributes his longevity to the same things I focus on: healthy diet, exercise, with a positive spirit and outlook! He has learned how to keep his genes working for him. Timmerman was quoted on Canada AM, “If genes are formed by bad habits, and they are. . .then good habits should be able to make good genes.”

This is great insight because, indeed epigenetics (the study of how genes are influenced by environment and lifestyle), has shown exactly that: a healthy lifestyle turns on healthy genes and turns off disease genes. The opposite is also true: an unhealthy lifestyle activates disease genes, which is why so many people develop chronic disease when they live an unhealthy lifestyle.

How about a Yoga teacher named Bernice Bates who is doing well in her 90s:

Bernice Bates is passionate about practicing and teaching Yoga. Even more amazing? She is 93 years young, and held the Guinness World Record for the oldest Yoga teacher! She has been practicing and teaching Yoga since 1960. That’s more than 50 years, and it keeps her young, lean and limber.

In spite of her age, Bernice has no health problems and is as healthy and fit as someone half her age. She is humble and grateful for her ability to serve others, giving much credit to her students when she was told about the Guinness record she achieved. Many of her current students are mere youngsters, in their 60s and 70s!

Bernice also loves to garden and stay active, and she is doing great for her age. She understands how to live life to the fullest every day and she keeps herself healthy and fit! I also practice Yoga most days and she inspires me! I’m always after results and she reminds me to stay with it! I hope you are inspired by her youth and health as well!

Here are a few more body facts to keep you inspired about the marvel that is your body:

  • Your hormone and immune systems are far more complex than a computer or smart phone
  • You replace about a billion cells every hour (and doctors don’t think you need great nutrition)
  • We all fight cancer cells/mutations with our immune system every day (as you can now see, lots of chances for cell divisions to go wrong)

A Runner’s story

Leslie Mary Olsen is a contact I have made on Linkedin. She is a certified trainer, fitness and health coach. She provided me with this inspirational story about her recovery from some significant injuries (see link below for full article):

Leslie Mary has been a runner for 36 years! And she has used her running to support various charities and fund raisers. She also enjoys biking, rowing, aerobics classes (she leads), swimming and hiking. She is a trainer who has helped others to run and exercise. She sees exercise and running as a form of meditation and rejuvenation, which is a great way to see exercise and activity.

About two years ago, she ran into a glass door and when it shattered, she was severely cut by large shards of glass that hit her lower right leg and arms. Just over two years ago, she lay in a hospital bed and looked down at her leg, bandaged from foot to thigh. She tried to remember what had happened that day. It all seemed so surreal. It only took an instant!

Her doctor said she wouldn’t walk for at least a month, as the muscles in the front of her lower right leg had been cut to the bone. Her doctor said she was lucky that the bone was intact. She had numerous stitches in her leg and arms.

During follow-up appointments, the surgeon was amazed with her recuperation. Three weeks after the accident, she was walking without crutches or a walker and four weeks after the accident, she tried her first run. Wow, most people would take many more months to recover.

Here’s part of her secret: Leslie Mary loves the whole process of going for a run. She takes out her clothes, socks, shoes, her water, etc. Her first mile is always about adjustments. She has a few aches and pains but nothing too serious. She begins to synchronize her breathing with her stride, and relaxes her mind. She is focused on her feet as they contact the ground in an easy rhythm. As she gets into the flow of the run, she has that special moment when she knows today is going to be a good day, just because she ran again! It just feels right!

Her accident was a tough lesson for her but she has also learned that the most important lesson has been the power of running; It helped her to recover. And she and I both know this secret: never give up! She often thinks about athletes who have suffered far worse: losing limbs, head injuries, and more. Their stories inspire her and she hopes others will be inspired by her tenacity and courage. She is back to running on a regular basis.

In closing

Each day, even each hour, you can make a choice to feel better and live longer. Will the choice be the status quo, convenience, and repeating the same non-productive, unhealthy habits most people have? Or is it time to be inspired by what other’s have done, and break free to become the butterfly you can be?

Will you make different choices and reap the rewards of a better life with better health and longevity? Will you throw off the burdens of low energy, imbalanced hormones and chose a lifestyle to meet your unique health needs?

Isn’t it time to move through the door to a new future with better vitality and quality of life, and longevity as your friend and partner? I can take to you the door but only you can decide to open it and embrace your future!

Questions or comments? Feel free to contact me:

Helpful links: 

© 2014 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now


{ 1 comment }

Kristy November 15, 2014 at 6:18 PM

You share interesting things here. I think that your blog should go viral!

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