For the first time this weekend, I looked across the dinner table at my 71 year-old father and saw him getting older.
To put this into context, he doesn’t look 71 years old. I’m not sure how old he looks, it’s hard to tell as a son I guess. But then again, he doesn’t behave like a 71 year old either!
I saw the years sitting heavier over this weekend because he’s been a bit under the weather, a bit tired and generally flatter than his usual sparky self due to an upset stomach.
It was a surprising contrast to the bubbly, active man who has been coming from London to Manchester every other week to help with a building project that we are battling with at the moment.
However, it has made me think a bit about getting older.
Whilst my dad is obviously, definitely, getting older, he is young for his years because of a number of significant things.
1. He has always remained active.
Staying mentally and physically active has been one of the ‘secrets’ of dad staying young whilst still getting older. He was always fit and healthy and active throughout his life, playing a lot of rugby as a young man and spending plenty of time on his bicycle, commuting. There were a few years between his mid-forties and mid-sixties where the wining and dining of potential clients took their toll on the waistline, but he now swims a lot in the week and walks quite a bit, not to mention the physical challenges of putting up stud walls, plasterboard, bricklaying and all the other skills necessary to rebuild a house.
2. He has always pushed his brain
Whilst he was an architect that could actually demonstrate how to build the plans he drew rather than just telling you that you’ve got it wrong, and definitely not an academic, dad, as long as I can remember, ‘religiously’ filled in the Evening Standard crossword every day on his way home from work. As he has been getting older and not making the same train journeys, he stretches his brain with sudoku and other puzzles. Unbeknown to him, science has shown us that this sort of activity helps to maintain good health in the brain.
3. He has always had good nutrition
Whether it was grandma making sure he ate his vegetables or my mum keeping his feet on the ground with fresh, organic food, when not making a feast for himself with grass-fed beef or organic salmon cooked with coconut oil, he was well looked after. He ate well but he also ate smart, avoided processed food, kept it fresh and often raw.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that underlying a long life with life-long good health is a good genetic foundation, but recent studies have shown that you can alter your genetics depending on what you eat.
Oh, and of course, he has the added benefit of having an Osteopath for a son, to keep his musculoskeletal frame in good order and a Podiatrist for a daughter to make sure his feet are well and he is wearing the right footwear and walking correctly.
Getting older healthily
There it is in a nutshell then.
If you want to stay healthy while you are getting older, all you need to do is keep active, keep your brain working and look after your nutritional input. And of course, have a regular osteopathic tune-up. You might as well phone to make an appointment today!