In a conference called “Ageless Living” I heard many authors and teachers espouse ground-breaking ideas, but none was more exciting than what author, Gregg Braden, had to say. He explained a simple concept that we often overlook – what we do in the first part of our lives catches up with us in the second half. When we are young, we don’t realize that we are creating the quality of future years. Because we don’t see or feel evidence to the contrary, we think that we have iron stomachs and are impervious to disease. We believe that stress is an in-the-moment event. It’s not. It has been wreaking havoc on our bodies for years.
The truth is that eating sugary, processed foods creates inflammation that gnaws at our blood vessels and the lining of the stomach. The deleterious effects of stress and ignoring exercise build up to the overflowing point in later years. Since we felt okay, we are surprised when disease or dysfunction show up. We think that they arrived out of the blue. Sometimes the privilege and problem of youth can be short-sightedness.
But it requires focus and determination to change habits that are comfortable. A qigong master calls his protocol “good, better, best.” Any amount that you adhere to his suggestions is welcome. There are ways to do age appropriate activities, too. My 91-year-old mother walks for ten minutes two times per day. I LOVED the intense training of the youth-oriented gongfu class offered at the martial arts school, but I opted for a “soft gongfu” training instead. Good, better, best. Even making small changes is good. Be the ninja of effort.