World Health Day: This year’s theme – good health adds life to years; Rev. Alan Pritz on achieving better health through meditation
April 7 is World Health Day. The annual celebration marks the anniversary of the 1948 founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and draws attention to particular priorities in global health.
This year’s theme is “good health adds life to years.” The focus is how good health can help older men and women lead full and productive lives. In addition to educating the public on healthy ways to age, worldwide events will outline key actions that governments can take now for healthier, more active aging.
Related: Don’t Fear Aging
This theme is more important than ever as the number of people today aged 60 and over has doubled since 1980. The number of people aged 80 years will almost quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050, according to WHO. Within the next five years, the number of adults aged 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5.
It is not surprising that the rate of our biological health declines as we get older and is determined, at least in part, by our behavior and exposure across the course of our lives. This includes what we eat, how active we are and our exposure to health risks such as those caused by smoking, alcohol, or exposure to toxic substances.
Related: Foods That Fight Aging
The risk of dementia rises sharply with age with an estimated 25-30 percent of people aged 85 or older having some degree of cognitive decline. Older people with dementia in low- and middle-income countries generally do not have access to the affordable long-term care their condition may warrant. Often their families do not often have publicly funded support to help with care at home.
Good health in older age can be achieved by promoting health across the life-course, creating age-friendly environments, providing access to basic primary health care and acknowledging the value of older people and help them participate fully in family and community life.
One way to do that is through meditation. According to Rev. Alan Pritz, meditation teacher, life coach, and consultant selected by the US Army Reserves for a National Combat Veteran Reintegration Program, meditation is virtually a one-stop shop for those who wish to age gracefully and healthfully. Citing work done by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. (author of Brain Longevity, The Pain Cure, and Meditation as Medicine), Rev. Pritz said “meditation can offset the ravages of age and enhance vitality. It activates the body’s natural anti-aging healing forces, is easy to do, costs nothing, and has no dangerous side effects – thus making it an ideal anti-aging tonic.”
Related: Exercises That Fight Aging
“Meditation rejuvenates the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal and other endocrine glands, is effective against stress and for many age-associated conditions such as menopause, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and stroke,” he continued. “Studies have shown those practicing meditation for five years were physiologically 12 years younger than non-meditators and even short-term meditators were physiologically younger than controls.” Plus, elderly persons introduced to meditation displayed numerous benefits- ultimately living longer – than those who didn’t meditate.
Related: 10 Principles of Optimal Living
“So, if you wish to live longer and enjoy optimal quality of life, meditate!”
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