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Challenging the myths of aging

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"You're getting on in years - you'd better slow down."
"At my age, I'd better be careful."
"Act your age!"
"We are all going to wind-up in a nursing home sooner or later."
"The older you get, the more medication you'll need."
"I'm just having a senior moment"

All of the above statements are nonsense. There's no biological connection between age and poor health. We don't have to deteriorate, as we get older.

I first saw the principle of healthy aging in action many years ago, while living in LaJolla, California, a beautiful town nestled along the Pacific coast just north of San Diego. The Southern California coast, with its awesome beauty and mild climate are conducive to outdoor activity and it is not unusual to see people of all ages engaged in some kind of physical activity. There was a saying that, "If you were able to turn 360 degrees and not see a least three different sports being played, you were not in San Diego."

LaJolla has a lovely cove where people swim and scuba dive. As a matter of fact there is an under water park where divers can explore the beauty of the ocean below. One sunny morning I was taking a walk through the LaJolla Park. Passing by the cove, I noticed a group of people about to take a swim. As I walked closer I saw that they were older people, well in their 80's and beyond and they were going to swim out to the big rock that sits out about a half a mile from the shore.

It was then that I realized there are other ways to age besides the slow deterioration we have all been taught is our fate. These elderly folks were going to swim over a mile in the ocean off the coast of California. At the time I thought to myself, "If I tried that I'd probably drown." At that point of my life I was in no shape to be swimming that distance.

Although these people were very old, some looked to be 90, and wrinkled from the California sun, they were in top physical condition and appeared to be quite healthy. I later learned that this was something these aging seniors did on a regular basis.

The lesson I learned that day so many years ago has stayed with me and has been a major influence in my beliefs about aging and the possibility of growing older without giving up our health and mobility.

(Excerpt from Jim's forthcoming book, "Don't Let an Old Person Move Into Your Body")
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Jim Donovan, is the author of several critically acclaimed self-help books, published in more than 20 countries, an inspiring motivational speaker and life coach. For a bonus gift and subscription to his "Jim's Jems" ezine visit his Web site.
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