By Stephenie Karony

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Lifestyle is the only
anti-aging wonder drug

Question: What is your opinion of all these anti-aging products being marketed to the boomers today? Do you think they do what they say?

Answer: I would first like to rewrite the term "anti-aging" and change it to "responsible aging."

The term anti-aging implies two things -- first, that there is a way to stop the aging process, and second that aging is bad.

There is no way to stop the march of time, and growing older is, in itself, not necessarily a negative.

It's what happens to our body and mind that we think of as bad, and would like to prevent.

Well folks, no matter how hard we try, how much we spend, and to what extreme measures we are willing to go, we are all going to grow old and eventually die.

Aging is a natural part of what happens in life.

What we can do is take control of our own aging, and it's an individual choice on how we go about doing this.

A good place to start is by changing your attitude toward aging.

Start by not assuming that you'll get all those age-related diseases that diminish the quality of older people's lives.

Understand that we don't have to get fat or develop heart disease or diabetes, and that osteoporosis, arthritis and gout are not "bound to happen."

Know that through lifestyle choices we can prevent strokes and high blood pressure, and that loss of balance, stooped posture, and frailty aren't necessarily what we have to look forward to in our later years.

Aging doesn't have to be synonymous with illness.

This isn't to say that some of us won't get ill as we age, but aging and illness don't have to walk hand-in-hand. There are old behaviors we can stop and new behaviors we can start that will preserve our ability to function at a high capacity over our lifetime.

We can have more energy, stronger bones and muscles, healthier hearts and lungs, more alert minds, and better skin tone, all by making the right lifestyle choices.

We can live lives free of aches and pains (joint pain, back pain, etc.) simply by improving our daily lifestyle habits.

So let's not rely on expensive, mostly unproven, and sometimes dangerous pharmacological agents to turn back the clock.

Let's instead find our own beat and march with time into a vital and exciting second half of our lives.

That's not to say we should ignore all products and procedures that imply they slow the aging process.

Some of these products do work, especially when it comes to skin care.

Just understand that there isn't any product available that will miraculously erase 25 years of your life.

Next week we will look at some
proven ways to age responsibly.

Stephenie Karony is a certified health and fitness instructor,
a personal trainer and author of "Body Shaping With Free Weights.''
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