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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to Find the Fountain of Youth

 Ponce De Leon did not find the fountain of youth-but you can.  Part 4
In addition to the significant and powerful mind-body connection, there are other important psychological components to consider as well.  Finding meaning in one’s life is significant and differs from man to man, and likely moment to moment.  It is the finding of your destiny or purpose-passion, which is different and unique for each individual.  As a consequence, it is up to the individual to define and discover that which gives him or her meaning. Meaning or purpose could be work or work-related, it could be a physical activity or sport, it could be some volunteer or hobby related activity. I cannot tell you what your meaning should be nor can you tell me what my meaning should be. For me, I found meaning and purpose in an athletic event, called Ride and Tie.  Even though I was a practicing psychologist, making a good living, that was not enough for me, and I was not totally fulfilled.  At that time, I knew something in my life was missing as I was not content, but I was unable to put my finger on it –I was unable to figure it out at the time.  I will share a couple of fantasies that I had prior, which provides insight into my mental state.
First, even though I was riding motorcycles at that time, I was unsatisfied with my Honda, Yamaha, or BMW motorcycles and purchased a new one practically every year. Then I had a midlife crisis and purchased my first Harley.  One of my favorite movies as a teenager was the Marlin Brando movie “The Wild One.” In fact, in memory of that film, there became a yearly motorcycle event in the small town -Hollister where the movie was filmed. Of course I had to go there and join the happening with the other riders. Could I recapture my youth and be just like Marlon-he was cool and bad?
 Another fantasy that I had in the 1990s was returning to college to play football again since I had three years of football eligibility left.  Mind you I am in my 50s, and I thought I wanted to play college football again especially toward the end of summer, around September.   In fact one day I even read about one older individual who did just that.  I thought that was pretty neat.  Well, I did not go back to college to play football, recapture my youth, but instead discovered the sport of ride and tie. Simply, ride and tie consists of two people and a horse.  One person rides while the other runs-they switch off riding and running until they reach the finish line.
In ride and tie, I could be physical again, become part of the team, have goals, and be competitive. With this sport, I had to get in running shape, which meant that I had to exercise and eat differently.  I now had to plan and follow through in order to become an athlete again.  I would condition my horse on training rides, and I started running in the hills to develop my cardio.  Typically, ride and tie events are held in the mountains, at a distance of 25 to 35 miles.  I decided that I wanted to be able to cover the same distance on the ground that my horse did. Translated that meant that I had to be able to run the distance of a marathon. Shortly thereafter, I was able to do just that.
 My first ultra run was a 50 K. (31 miles), and that was followed by a marathon a few years later.  My running, cardio, and endurance improved.  Then back in 2000( age 60), I completed the Tevis Cup –a distance of 100 miles in one day on my horse, Raider.  I felt great about that accomplishment and goal.  But I was not done with goals.  If my horse could travel 100 miles, should not I be able to run 100 miles in one day?  Well now I had a second goal.  So, in 2002 (age 62), I ran the Western States 100.  I could now cover on the ground the same distance as my horse.  That accomplishment was satisfying, and gave meaning and purpose to what I was doing.  I was on my way, as I found passion, meaning and purpose as result of ride and tie.  I became pretty good rider and an ultra runner in the process.  Of course, I was not finished with goals as the journey continues.

To be continued Friday


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