Concerned about the high number of people over 65 living in care who are depressed, the University of California did a recent study to find out what happened if people in that group took regular exercise based on the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi, most commonly recognised for its slow, flowing movements.
The study showed that just doing a movement class once a week not only boosted participants’ mood, but they also had more energy, felt more positive about life and their memories improved.
The results show that there is real hope for our ability to stay active and positive as we get older and adds weight to there being alternatives to tackling depression that might not immediately spring to our minds.
Living long, healthy lives is central to Daoist philosophy and practice and if you visit China you really do see people who would be considered old in our society out early in the mornings in the city parks, practicing Tai Chi, Chi Kung or even having a good singing session in mini-choirs that gather at dawn.
If you want to see what’s possible, take a look at the video clip of Daoist Bagua Master Lu Zijian, who at 116 moves like someone a third of his age.
The study does show that movement helps, but I think we should also look at tackling the overall idea or meme that we are ‘past it’ when we reach a certain age in our society that we can either put on ourselves as we get older or push on other people as they do. Ancient and traditional cultures venerate elders who often continue to play an active role in the community. An obsession with youth can mean that we forget the value of the wisdom that can come with increasing years. This is going to become increasingly important to us as it appears many more of us can expect to reach 100 these days!
So how can you stay young as you get older?
1/Forget your age. It’s just a number. Don’t let it define you!
2/Do what you love. Whether it’s gardening or advanced maths, finding something that absorbs you heart and soul keeps your mind ticking over as you learn new things.
3/Move! Find something you enjoy doing and carry on doing it.
4/Contribute. There is always someone who needs your help, wisdom and support. Find them and carry on giving. That’s how life flows through you rather than passing you by.
Loads of love,
Read more about the study
See Daoist Bagua Master Lu Zijian in action
Read more about Daoist Bagua Master Lu Zijian
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