Laurentian University professor and psychologist Paul Valliant has studied the aging process for more than 30 years, and he began to write his book, Life After 50, The Road to Longevity, as he approached middle age.
Canadians can expect to be “old” as many years are they are “young,” so they need to plan for a successful long life as a senior citizen. While it can take little effort, life after 50 can be as happy, productive and healthy as one’s 20s and 30s, Valliant says.
“In the book I tried to give people an idea about what they can look forward to. Most of the books (on aging) reflect on the negative side. I decided to look at the positive.”
He advises seniors to get regular exercise and to keep their minds active with reading, hobbies or socializing.
Staying positive while counting all those birthday candles on the cake, and going for a brisk walk after eating it can keep the body and mind behaving if it were 10 years younger.
This may seem to be common sense, but according to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, almost 60 percent of Canadian adults are overweight or obese.
“Many people do not have a plan for when they retire so when they retire, they realize they are bored,” says Valliant.
Watching mindless television is a killer. He advocates people be allowed to work as long as they want to because it keeps the body and mind active.
Aging well also has to do with good genes. “People who age well have long-strand telomeres (in their DNA) which allow the cells to divide without under going deterioration,” Valliant writes. “Unlike people with short-strand telomeres, those with long-strand telomere don’t age quickly.”
Much has been written about the health benefits of astragalus, a herb which has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. It is available in Canada and can be taken in a capsule or drank in a tea.
Astragalus is a telomerase booster. Telomerase in cells keep telomeres from breaking down.
In the book’s appendix, the professor lists other herbs as well as foods and supplements that can research has found can slow down the aging process
Life After Fifty is published by MillCity Press and available at the Paris Health Food Store and on Amazon.com.
Watch Sudbury Living’s interview with Paul Valliant at sudburylivingmagazine.com.