Healthy Attitude, Healthy Life: How to Age Gracefully

In our society, we hope that wisdom comes with age. What we don't expect is for increased energy to also be a component of our golden years.
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In our society, we hope that wisdom comes with age. What we don't expect is for increased energy to also be a component of our golden years.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting an 87 year-old woman who was not only very wise but who also could do more push ups than most 50 year-olds. I had the honor of spending a glorious week at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico to celebrate their 70th anniversary and interviewing the co-founder and owner, Deborah Szekely.

Just shy of her 88th birthday, Deborah glows with an energy that one rarely finds in someone half her age. She does Pilates three times a week and trains three times a week with a Navy Seal. When she said "I know that eventually I will get old"... I knew that I had to share her inspiration with you.

Ten Life Principles of Deborah Szekely

Get healthy! It's never too late to decide to be healthy. "Disease is not required. It is, to a great degree, a matter of choice. Our habit of diet, exercise and attitude can determine the quality of our lives. What good is it to live to be 100 if we don't have the energy, health and vitality to enjoy it? It's never too late to start becoming healthy and it's so simple. When you start, just eat 20 percent less than normal and the excess pounds will go away. Eat slowly and eat local, seasonal and organic whenever possible."

Start it. Even if you don't know what's next, take the first step. Once you get going with a project you'll figure out what's next. "We didn't know what we were building, we just did what needed to be done each day." Seventy years later, those days have added up to create one of the world's premier health spas and resorts. And, it all started from taking the first step.

Take time for yourself.
"Make time for you. Go outside in the morning and connect to Nature's energy. Listen. Feel it. Problems will still be there but you get to share them in a different way." When we connect to something bigger than us and take the time to go inside, we'll find the answers we seek.

Start your day with the right attitude. "Each morning when you wake, connect with your body. Spend a moment wiggling and say 'Good Morning'. Expect it to be a good day and it will be." Our attitude determines our outcome.

Exercise and get moving! "At 87, I exercise six days a week. I still have a lot to do in my life! You can get as old as you're willing to be. When you turn 60, exercise is doubly important, when you turn 70, even more. I have to exercise even more, not less, when I reach 90. I know that eventually I'll get old, but for me, going on 88 is no different than 68!"

Smidgens add up. Many times we'll have 'just a smidgen' of this or 'just a smidgen' of that ... but those smidgens add up. If you eat fast food only twice a week, that adds up to more than 100 times a year, or almost 10,000 times if you live to be 100! Be aware of the long-term, cumulative effects of your choices, even if it's 'only a smidgen.'

Let your faith be bigger than your problems. "Everyone has problems. All you can do is your very best and that usually suffices -- just do your best. I'm confident when I know I've done my best -- it's going to work out. The key is to look beyond the day and beyond the problem, by focusing on that future day."

Life is about thirds. Life can be divided into three main sections. "The first third, from 0-30 is your youth. The second third is your adolescence, when we grow up to become a person. The third third of life, from 60 to 90 is the pinnacle of life, the years where we have the most freedom and choices -- but you must be healthy!"

Climb mountains! "Life is best lived when you have a goal, have a passion and find things that you believe in. These passions can change, just like when you climb a mountain, the horizon always changes. The higher you climb up the mountain the more you can see. As you summit the peak you might see another mountain top. Follow where your passion will lead you. Find the things you believe in and get addicted to mountain climbing."

Give back. Being of service to others makes life more complete. "There's just so much to do and I'm in a position to help make a difference ... As an 'Elder', I believe that wisdom is experience plus judgment. I believe the elders are in a position to make a difference."

Deborah inspired me to want to be like her when I'm 88. And it order to do that, I'm starting today and learning from her wisdom. I'm off to do push ups. Care to join me?

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