Anti aging. A term well used throughout the health and beauty industry to the marketing benefit of the company selling one of the millions of anti aging products. Aging- a word that has lately been whispered with a shudder and glance as a tsunami wave of panic starts to overcome that fearful individual who truly believes that his very survival depends on any product that can alleviate the ‘disease’ of aging.
Aging to this individual is not necessarily based on warding off an untimely death but usually becomes synonymous with his or her loss of beauty, loss of mental faculty, loss of ambulatory freedom, loss of income and loss of control.
After all, who wants to be ugly, dim, poor and bound to a wheelchair at the mercy of some sullen, hungover, nurses aid who decides when and where you go?
So yes, we are all of one accord to be anti aging as it is described above.
Remember when aging was considered a good thing? Do you remember when you were a child and someone asked you how old you were, you proudly announced that you were six and a half? Or 8 and three quarters? Or that you were ten  almost eleven? We were so anxious to be ‘older’ and perceived wiser, smarter, ‘bigger’ and more ready to be accepted in general society.
In many cultures preceding the past few generations, the older members of the family were the most honored, revered, and listened to. They were powerful as the patriarchal or matriarchal heads of the extended family. Decisions of the family’s economic futures were decided by this ‘ruling’ segment and even spousal choices were heavily impacted by their opinion.
And as we look back upon these previous generations, the elder were healthier, having greater mobility towards later in life years, and no one had ever heard of  so many instances of ‘Alzheimer’s’; at that time more commonly referred to as being senile by those that were afflicted.
What is one of the most common identifiable denominators  evident among industrialized nations that seems to presage the unwanted and most feared elements of human aging?
An influx of too much good healthy food? Fluoride in the water? Climate change?
No. The most common easily identifiable detail is lack of movement by millions of stationary and physically immobilized people.
Here we have societies that are  showered with the most amazing types of vehicles, transportation and means of communication imaginable, and we hardly have to move a muscle to be transported miles high, miles away and in the highest comfort.  Do you recall how annoyed you got when the cup holders in your car did not accommodate the size container filled with your favorite beverage?
My point is, that well, we hardly have to move a muscle to get what we want and where we want. From our bed, to the couch and TV, to the table, to the car, to the grocery store, through the myriad of available food drive trough’s, to our desk at work, to back home and into bed.
From ancient times, wise doctors with their heritage in Chinese culture and medicine have always said that lack of movement is one of the main components that bring on disease and early unwanted aspects of aging.
Perhaps it is not aging itself that is the ‘bad’ thing. Perhaps it is aging in an unhealthy condition brought on by an unhealthy life style that inspires unhappiness and discontent.
The Fix? How may we progress through the journey of life that is actually a privilege granted to us by an Unseen Hand full of health, happiness, joy and contentment?
A plethora of carny hawked items can be had by anyone interested in a  ‘guaranteed’ product to help in the quest to bring about these wonderful anti-aging conditions.
Is less wrinkles  your definition of aging happily?
Creams from the organs and skin of every imaginable animal, and lotions from every fruit, vegetable and mineral are ready for you to purchase that  claim to  heal, cure or treat the anathema of the dreaded wrinkle!!!!
Weight gain interfering with your happy walk into your golden years?
You know you have tried at least 7 different approaches to eliminating that ‘ugly fat’ from your beautiful body.There are hundreds of thousands more.
Sexual dysfunction?( Which is a definition that is produced arbitrarily by the sufferer and may not even qualify as medically problematic.)
Well, just open your email and you can find any sort of pill, chemical or device that will eradicate your performance dissatisfaction and grant you heavenly bliss. IF you pay upfront.
But what if I told you that barring some medical conditions, you could find an amazing uplift to your life in all of these areas. What if there really was a way to travel through the path on this earth healthy, happy and even possess our own quality of beauty til the day we are called to travel over to the  next life?
What man wouldn’t wish that he could wake up in the morning in his 70’s, 80’s and beyond, and JUMP out of bed rather than taking 45 minutes to gradually ooze out of the bed, only to find his way to the nearest living room chair??
What women in her 80’s would deny herself the pleasure of dancing at her great grandson’s wedding and having everyone comment on beautiful she looked or how limber she was?
I have been involved in the training and instruction of martial arts for over 20 years, and have found a direct correlation between the healthiest people I know and their involvement in the martial arts.
Why. Because just as was mentioned before, martial arts in it’s numerous and various styles, is all about movement. Structured, well thought out, and prescribed movement.
And exactly how is it that this movement becomes such a cure all and benefit?
Basically our bodies are machines that require fuel, a way to process that fuel and turn it to energy, and a way to get rid of the by-product waste.
Strong heart-pumped  blood requires the oxygen to be delivered to our brain and every cell in our body to produce maximum health.
In most martial arts, from the softer style of Tai Chi to the harder styles such as Taekwondo, the components taught are comprised of learning how to move every part of our bodies and how to mentally learn to breath for maximum focus and concentration.
Which brings up an interesting point. There are innumerable styles of martial arts. In an upcoming article, I will go into further detail on the different aspects, benefits and requirements for the more popular ones.
Some are known as ‘hard styles’ because of their proclivity to use their bodies defensively with hard punches and fast, quick strikes in training.. Whereas the softer styles techniques are usually performed slower, with more liquidity and a softer approach.
All are good. because they require the body to move. they require the lungs to breath, the heart to pump, the limbs to move. Your muscles become flexible and strengthened, the wastes of stagnant blood and diseases are transmitted out of the body.
The brain becomes oxygenated with the influx of air developing  neurons and pathways as the student follows the different movements being taught and then emulating them himself.
There is a martial arts style for you that will benefit you and help you overcome the ‘fearful’ aspects of aging.
Investigate martial arts. Study them. Find a place to train and learn. But if there are prohibitions to your on site training, you can find the same  benefits and knowledge by training from your own home. With the advent of the Internet and videography and Skype type applications, one can learn anything. Full university degrees and all manners of instruction from skiing, skateboarding, knitting, cooking to raising zebras, are all available to you in this amazing format.
I have written another e-zine article that deals with the objections to learning a martial art from your own may find it under sports and recreation/martial arts.
There is no age limit. There is no limit to how much you can learn and train in. If you have physical challenges, check with your doctor, but usually they will recommend to only do what you feel you are comfortable with and capable of. And as you learn and train, you health will improve. And your personal requirements as to your own definition of what constitutes anti aging will be noticeable to you.
Additional limberness, flexibility, strengthening of bones and muscles, endurance and balance with sharper mental acuity  will become your normal state of being.
Beauty will be what your mind and eyes perceive as you look in the mirror.
And aging. Aging will not be scary word; a the word that you perceive that somehow diminishes you.
Take a deep breath. And another. Look for YOUR martial Arts style. Live, love, laugh and Age Well.

By Laura