Active Aging – 6 Ways to Go for Your Gold – at any Age

September 9, 2016  by Dr. Suki Munsell

“Live long and die young,” the saying reminds us. “It’s not the years in your life but the life in your years.” Of the many ways to age vibrantly that I’ve learned from my mother (age 99 at death), my father (age 91 at death) and Anna Halprin (age 97), my mentor of 42 years, the six ideas that follow are among my favorites.

1. Live Inspired. Every four years the Olympians inspire us to greater heights and deeper depths of courage, resilience and commitment. Sprinting faster, leaping further, soaring higher, they break world records of time, space and force. They must bust through personal boundaries as well; injury, pain and fear. Collectively they raise the level of the sport, our spirit and the transformation of our species.

This year I watched with my dance teacher Anna Halprin. We tried to predict the winner of each race by analyzing the athletes’ attitude, style and biomechanics. In every competition, in water, on land and in the air, the winners’ expertise shone clearly. Radiant in their victories, their successes touched our hearts and lifted our spirits

Nourish yourself with a healthy diet of movies, books and news of everyday heroines and heroes who inspire you, like these available on YouTube. Remember, if you don’t like bad news – go out and make some for yourself.

2. Stay Active. Perhaps the athletes’ commitment inspired Anna’s return to exercise after two months of inactivity following debilitating and painful fractures. I initiated some gentle stretches in a plank position against the breakfast counter – easier than planks on the floor and just as effective to build core strength. Anna experienced no pain, during or after, so we continued. By the third day, Anna showed me a 30-minute series of floor exercises she’d been developing! Even in her golden years, Anna reaches for her personal best.

Try these Stretch and Strengthen exercises for yourself. Planks aasier than planks on the floor

3. Believe in yourself. Positivity pays off. Watch this inspiring, celebratory video of Paralympic athletes, and physically challenged performers going for their personal best and living their dreams…Super Humans.

4. Practice makes perfect. Go for the gold in each experience. The message of commercials featuring Olympians is “Rule yourself; you are the sum of all your training.” A recent videoof Michael Phelps, spotlights his hard work. “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light,” we are advised.

5. Have fun and share laughter. Endorphins from laughter and exercise can turn back the clock. Our brains’ ‘feel-good chemicals, help us feel younger, decrease stress, and can give us a new perspective. “Across all tests,” cited a Scientific American article, “the participants’ ability to tolerate pain jumped after laughing. On average, watching about 15 minutes of comedy in a group increased pain threshold by 10 percent. Participants tested alone showed slightly smaller increases in their pain threshold.”

“Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California,” reported an article in Simply Anti Aging, “produced a definitive study proving that the experience of laughter lowers cortisol levels and increases T lymphocytes – nature’s infection fighting cells.”

6. Create a support system. Our Dynamic Tai Chi and Qigong classes regularly have an age spread of 5-6 decades. We are committed to helping you live and age with dynamic vitality. Check out our website and videos at DynamicVitality.com.


Suki and Anna, summer 2016


Learn more at DynamicVitality.com, Like us on Facebook.