• TheSean BarkesClinic

The Myth of Getting ‘Old’

Having spent the last 15 years observing what makes one 80 year old ‘old’ and another ‘young’ and indeed witnessing the transformation of some ‘old’ ones into ‘young’ ones, I’ve been pretty humbled. I never cease to be amazed by human potential. Through a gradual process of mental reflection, dietary and lifestyle changes and therapy, some have been able to turn their circumstances around by realising they had more control over how they felt than they realised and that they had succumbed to the popular myth about age.

Many of our patients are content merely with the removal of pain from their arthritic joints. Some, however, realise that they have become what they have through their choices and actions. They then make different choices and experience different outcomes as a result.

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to old people. These same processes occur in younger age. At the time of writing, I’m 43 and setting myself physical and mental goals that my contemporaries have clearly convinced themselves they can’t achieve. Of course, they can achieve them!They just need to engage in the lifestyle that supports their achievement. They’ve succumbed, like the majority, to societal norms and assumptions that say “you’re getting old now and so you’re going to be weaker, have poorer health and generally start going downhill”

Of course, age does play a significant role in our wellbeing. The older we get, the more time we have had to practice the habits that have determined our health in the first place. In turning things round, it might be a slower process because of this. You’ve been letting yourself go over a longer period of time. However, change you certainly can!

Our minds are far stronger than most of us are willing to admit. One just needs to watch a few episodes of Derren Brown to get an idea of this. Countless studies on the placebo affect also provide fascinating food for thought. Even ignoring the obvious dietary, exercise and lifestyle choices that are proven to affect our health, our minds can convince us into high or low levels of physical and mental performance or health states. So, its not enough to just regulate our diet, and lifestyle. We have to train our minds too. Good health is not a matter of luck, its crafted! I’m reminded of what Gary Player is noted for having said: “It’s funny, the more I practice the luckier I seem to get”.

And that’s not even considering the amazing folk with significant, life-limiting circumstances who still remain positive. Like Chris Moon, 49 at the time of writing, the ultra runner who had one leg and one arm blown off by a land mine, then ran the London marathon within a year of the incident!!! Check him out at:

Geneticists estimate that our genes are responsible for about 15% of our health outcomes. The other 85% is down to our lifestyle. In other words, the choices we make in life have the largest effect on our health, by far.

So, check out your self-limiting beliefs, engage in some positive thinking training, and start releasing your latent potential now. Commit to a programme of regular exercise, whether it includes Tai Chi, running, squash or whatever. And guess what, once you’ve got over that initial inertia that inevitably exists when you’ve been inactive for so long, its really enjoyable and feels great! Go get some…you’re more than you think you are!

Written by Sean

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