Staying Young

Elders

This is an exerpt from an article written by Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, from Japan. Since 1941, he has been healing patients at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke’s College of Nursing. He has published 15 books since his 75th birthday, including “Living Long, Living Good”, which sold more than 1.2 million copies. He turned 104 recently. 

Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime. All people who live long regardless of nationality, race or gender share one thing in common: none are overweight. For breakfast I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some organge juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps the skin healthy. Lunch is mild and a few cookies, or nothing when I am too busy to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work. Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish
and rice, and twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat. There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago when the average life expectancy was 68 years and only 125 Japanese were over 100 years old. Today, we have 36,000 centenarians in our country and in 20 years we will have about 50,000 people over the age of 100.

When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can’t cure everyone…so why cause unnecessary pain with surgery? I believe music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine. To stay healthy always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. I take two stairs at a time to get my muscles moving. Pain is mysterious and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. We all want to have fun. Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts…not just medical ones.

Learn from Life’s incidents. As a doctor, I’ve seen many different emergencies and was amazed at how the body slows down in a crisis. Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do. Retirement and contribution to society…it is easy to work for one’s family and to achieve one’s goals…but in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society…Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer…I still put in 18 hours/seven days a week and love every minute of it.

*Note by Sifu Billie: I chose this article because I could totally relate to what he wrote about. I think people of all ages could benefit from his advice. (Sifu Billie has been the Sales and Marketing Director of Lohan School and a Tai Chi teacher and practitioner for over 25 years. She is 80.)

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