Howard Napper, from his numerous books and DVD’s, is one of the most recognised faces of yoga in the UK. He is also the man who devised the fabulous and highly effective sequence of yoga exercises on my Yoga Secrets DVD. He has recently been specialising in stress and the way we age. He is in fact researching and writing a book on the subject. I am constantly amazed by the extent of his knowledge.
Here he gives us:
10 tips to healthy aging:
Discovering the secrets to aging is not so much about looking younger or living longer it’s about whether we will be able to be healthy enough both mentally and physically to enjoy the aging process.
1. It is important to realise that we have 3 quantifiable ages.
Chronological age: The years since birth, which only ever increase.
Biological age: Considered our true age, and perhaps the best indicator of how long we have left. This is affected by lifestyle and can go either up or down.
Subjective age: The age we feel, and the most influential of all. Tests show a low subjective age is related to good health. Remember “you’re only as old as you feel.”
2. Our genes only account for around 20 to 30 percent of the way we age; the rest is down to lifestyle.
3. The philosophy that 50 is the new 30, or 40 the new 20, encourages many to be in denial about the aging process. Instead aim to be the best you can be at any age, be it 30, 40, 50 or beyond.
4. The more attached you are to what you lose as you age, the harder it is to transition into each new stage of life. Staying focused on the benefits ahead is the key to accepting change and maintaining peace of mind throughout the mid section of life.
5. Reduce the physical damage caused by stress by using coping mechanisms like breathing exercises.
6. Quality of sleep equates to quality of life at any stage of life.
7. To prevent the appearance of premature ageing do regular facial exercises to increases muscle tone and blood supply.
8. Practice regular inversions (shoulder-stands, downward facing dogs, head-stands etc) to increase blood flow to the face and hair.
9. After 40 we can lose up to 2% muscle mass each year. If you are concerned with decreased strength, include isotonic strength training in your exercise routine. (isometric exercise is when the muscles used are static and don’t visibly change length. Think placing your hands against the wall and pushing.)
10. Balance is a key element of good posture but can decrease as we age. Using balance ball exercises, or balancing poses used in yoga are good ways of maintaining good posture. As the saying goes, use it or most definitely lose it!