What is real health. If a person can exercise to a high level, does this mean their heart is healthy? Do any other factors play a role in true heart health?
Some people think age plays a role in health. If a person is young then they must be healthy? Right?
In my book, age is very relative. As a physician it becomes quite clear that our chronological age is one thing, while the true age of your body is something else.
Last week, I saw a patient in the office who was forty-two years old. Yet, when you looked at him he appeared to be much older, at least 60 or even 65. He was overweight, with diabetes, and had smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for nearly 30 years. His face was old-looking, with deep crevices from the effects of smoking. And when he walked on the treadmill for a stress test, he could hardly walk. Many 70 year-olds go farther than he went.
Even though the man’s chronological age was 42, his physiological age was much older. Age in his case didn’t make him healthy. His heart wasn’t healthy. After flunking the stress test we did a heart catheterization on him and found out he had major blockages of his coronary arteries.
Clearly his chronological age wasn’t his real age.
This has been my experience. Our chronological age doesn’t always match our inner age.
You can also be young in years, but old in thinking or acting.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard patients say, “Oh, I’m too old to start exercising.” “I’m too old to take up yoga.” Yet, their body is telling them that they need such activities. Their physical health demands that they do these things.
Old thinking is a hard illness to overcome.
A person can also be old in their heart’s emotional state. What do I mean by this? I mean that sometimes peoples hearts have been traumatized and they are afraid to allow new emotions come into their heart. Perhaps they have had their heart broken in a relationship and they refuse to let someone back into their life. If they don’t open the heart ages. It becomes old and weathered.
Love is essential for being young. If we give up on love our heart can becomes old.
It can lose the essential oil that gives it life. When this happens our physical health can also be affected.
Haven’t you noticed that if two people are deeply in love and one of them dies, the other person often dies soon thereafter? It is true. It’s even been confirmed medically. Severe sadness, emotional trauma can actually kill a person.
So what can be done about keeping our heart from aging?
First we should strive to keep our heart physically healthy. We should exercise, eat properly, and avoid harmful activities like smoking, and excessive drinking.
Next, we need to keep our thinking young. Break down any barriers you have in your thinking. Take up new activities. Go sky diving, or scuba diving. Do things you’ve always thought you might like to do but were afraid.
Finally, allow love to enter your heart. If you’ve been hurt in the past, seek help. Find ways to get more love. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Go and help with shut ins. Do things that make you give love and get more love. If you do you won’t be disappointed.
Your heart doesn’t have to become old.
Age is more what we do than the actual years we have lived.
October 26th, 2008