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Lifespan Versus Healthspan?

August 10, 20236 min read

"Two monks walked along a riverbank, deep in conversation. As they reached a bend in the river, they noticed a scorpion struggling in the water. Without hesitation, one monk reached down to rescue it, but the scorpion stung him.

Undeterred, the monk gently tried again, and once more, the scorpion stung him. The other monk, puzzled, asked, 'Why do you keep trying to save it when it keeps hurting you?'

Smiling, the monk replied, 'It is the nature of the scorpion to sting, and it is my nature to save. Why should I let its nature change mine?'"

The parable illustrates the idea that changing old habits requires perseverance and a commitment to one's own nature of growth, even in the face of challenges or setbacks.

Key "takeaways" to date of the latest research I’ve been doing.

I’ve been working on a PDF summary for health and wellbeing. I will eventually use it as a BONUS for one of my programs. As I create this resource guide, I want to share what I’m learning along the way so you can benefit as well.

As I’ve aged (I'm 64 2023), I’ve noticed a few things. First, I dislike how my body is changing. I have been a very active, athletic person my entire life. Then COVID hit. Two years of not being able to enter the gym was enough to break a lifelong habit of working out several days a week. Here is what I noticed.

Towards the end of COVID, I noticed a big shift in my memory. I was forgetting more than normal. My balance was also off. Having done martial arts for nearly 35 years, the change was significant. I noticed many close calls of falling.

Weight gain was another issue. Throughout my life, I’ve had a very high metabolism. During COVID I could not dance week nights or work out at the gym anymore. The negligible amount of calisthenics and yoga I started doing was not enough. My metabolism slowed and what I swore would never happen - happened! I got a gut! Yes, I’ve always been proud of my six-pack and was ashamed I was losing it.

Finally, my motivation for life was off. Many who know me know I’ve traveled a lot and lived in many places across the United States. The thrill of experiencing new things was at an all-time low for me.

Throughout my life, I’ve had to be a resilient and resourceful person. My natural inclination is to do some research about what I am experiencing. I landed on 3 books that I think are worth a look:

Grow a New Body by Dr. Alberto Villoldo

Outlive by Dr. Peter Attia, M.D.

The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman, M.D.

Grow a New Body has a recommended protocol for clearing any fog in the brain, causing memory loss. While it was an expensive proposition to take certain supplements every day, I found at the end of three months I could stop taking the supplements. My memory issues stopped and I my clarity of thinking returned. That was two years ago and I still feel clear minded.

I find the UltraMind Solution an incredible piece of work. Dr. Hyman is an obvious expert at what he does, and his writing style was easy for me to digest and integrate. He reinforced eating habits I had already established over my life, so I didn’t have to change much here other than caloric intake.

One big takeaway is we need a certain amount of vitamins every day or we will eventually pay a long-term price. He makes it very clear which ones and how much to consume. Although there is a suggested daily amount, adjust based on what your body needs.

Outlive is yet another layer of the puzzle. His primary thesis is Healthspan. We are all used to hearing about lifespan but the medical experts have emphasized little about human Healthspan. As I read, he explains a holistic approach to aging that contrasts with the current medical establishment's ideas. That each of the four horseman, you can review below, are cumulative. They happen over time. The intervention or habit building needs to happen early on to prevent the long-term consequences that result in the disease.

This book is a life changer. A couple of examples may help. There are a lot of studies on the importance of good sleep. In his approach, the emphasis is on what habits do we need to establish to maintain the right amount of rest. Another example is exercise. Research shows that exercise is by far the number one daily practice that keeps a high functioning brain and body. A lot of long-term problem don’t exist when we maintain a healthy exercise regimen.

Healthspan is the time in our Lifespan that is free of disease and disability. The quality of life.

The BIG four health issues plaguing our society today are:

1. Cardiovascular Disorders

2. Cancer

3. Diabetes

4. Neurodegenerative Diseases

Without attention to how we run our daily lives, any of these diseases can build momentum. The root of these issues begins early in life. How we manage our daily lives will determine their impact as we age. Think long term here. We can diminish the risk by paying attention to key areas of our life and how we manage them.

The Three Vectors Of Focus

Dr. Attia suggests there are three “vectors” of deterioration to pay the most attention to:

1. Cognitive decline

2. Loss of function of physical body

3. Emotional health

Here are the top strategic areas of our life he mentions we need to put tactical priority on to minimize impact. We get significantly diminished risk factors when we “dial in” these areas.

Where To Focus Our Tactics

1. Exercise or Physical Health (Maintain muscle mass and strength. Aerobic fitness.)

2. Nutrition

2. Sleep (Are you feeling inspired and rested when you wake up?)

3. Emotional Health (Resolve any past trauma, self worth, fixations, etc. and be clear about what success looks like)

4. Exogenous Molecules (Drugs, hormones, supplements)

Handing Resistance To Change

What we all battle is the brain’s resistance to change. Each of us needs to work out the risk versus reward for taking action on anything we take action on. And here is a big hint: If you are clear about what you want your life to look like at the end, this will offer you clues what to do now.

If you are unclear, a coaching session can clear that up. I can offer years of perspective as we create your bucket list or vision statement for your future self. Knowing will motivate you to change your habits faster than not knowing.

“Death is inevitable, deterioration less so.” Peter Attia, M.D.

I hope you find this summary useful. Here are links to the resources I’ve mentioned. I have many more, but these are the ones I find most impactful and insightful. Also, the links you will click on are affiliate links. That means I will receive a small commission for you buying through my link. The price you pay is the same whether or not you use my affiliate link. Thank you in advance for supporting my cause.

Grow a New Body by Dr. Alberto Villoldo

Outlive by Dr. Peter Attia, M.D.

The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman, M.D.

Infinite blessings on your journey. If you have any comments or questions, please join our Facebook group or the HeartBeat group.

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Ed Ferrigan, M.A., CPCC, SEP

Working with Ed, you’ll get a clear focus on what you are wanting, gain permanent skills to identify and remove any limiting beliefs and heal any potential trauma from that past (most people have no idea this is an issue). He will make the process simple to understand so you can make more conscious choices in the future that create the results you are wanting. Ed lives in Durango, CO and is fond of most outdoor activities including photography, fly-fishing, hiking and camping. Ed is also an avid dancer and has an affinity to West Coast Swing.

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