There’s not a single human alive who can stop time – if he can, then he’s not human! What we can do though, is live better and age well. In fact, the two go hand in hand and when it comes to living well its bet to keep it ‘simple-stupid’. The first thing to do, for your sanity, is to cut through all the noise, nonsense and snake oil salesmen. Accept the fact that you are getting older (we all are) and that it is inevitable. Like the seasons, you’ll change, some will be better than others and you’ll develop a patina of sorts that comes with a rich life experience. Use your wisdom gained from lessons learned to frame your outlook. Look to the Japanese, or specifically the Okinawans as a good example. If you had to some up their philosophy in a nutshell it would be something along the lines of “use it or lose it”. The Japanese are by virtue an active nation, and people don’t necessarily retire at 65. What’s even more inspiring is that they manage to keep fit and healthy despite leading very busy lives. So, what habits could you adopt to live better and age well? A quick run-down:

  1. Everyday activity
  2. Warming the body
  3. Staying sanitary
  4. Staying active in old age

Everyday Activity

The Japanese of all ages keep active every day. Kids ride or walk to school; families walk home with their grocery bags and older folk ride bicycles as a means of transport. It’s unlikely you’ll see spending hours grueling their way through a workout at a gym, instead they simply make movement and physical activity a part of life’s daily routine. The important thing to note is that this mindset is ingrained in the culture and starts from childhood; also, many teenagers pend several nights a week playing sports at various clubs. There’s also a really cool Japanese tradition used to get the blood pumping or warm up for sport or exercise. This method is called Radio Calisthenics and what it entails is stretching to the beat of music played on the radio every morning. It’s kind of interesting to see how ingrained the culture of keeping active is, so much so that even radio stations are a part of this national habit. Many elderly people will opt to do their radio calisthenics outside, in the morning even f its cold. And groups of seniors will gather in a public park or space and flail arms and legs around to get the blood pumping, and nobody thinks that’s strange at all.

Warming the Body

Westerners may turn their noses up at this idea, but elderly Japanese will tell you that its important to keep your tummy warm. Sounds kind of uncomfortable to most us but the belief that a warm tummy is a healthy one and tummy issues are linked to a ‘cold stomach’. How do the Japanese keep their tummies warm? The Japanese favour a bath before bed to warm the body and will often soak for several minutes in the tub after the washing is over. The Japanese culture is also very focused on hot springs and the health benefits of them and Japanese of all ages will partake in soaking in mineral rich spring water. Hot spring soaks can improve health, improve circulation, relieve aches and pains and impart vital minerals for better sleep.