Dr. Rajendra Sharma believes that the secret to living a long life isn’t anti-ageing but healthy ageing. More than that, Dr Sharma believes that we can age healthily in our modern age of pollution, fast food and alcohol without having to deny the treats you deserve.
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? In fact, Dr. Sharma (who’s an anti-ageing expert and author of new book Live Longer, Live Younger) thinks we can all achieve healthy ageing just by following a few basic steps.
There’s a LOT of money in anti-ageing. The anti-ageing business is thriving. It is, however, predominantly concerned with outward appearance. There are many ‘miracle creams’ available that claim to lift and firm sagging skin, decrease the appearance of wrinkles, banish cellulite or restore a youthful glow. The efficacy of many such creams may or may not be clinically proven; and as there are already so many toxins absorbed from everyday skin products, why worry about introducing even more to your system? For those of you considering more radical or even surgical treatments, remember that products introduced into the body in cosmetic procedures such as breast and lip augmentation can have dire effects. Going under the knife always carries risks, and you should be aware of potential problems such as scarring and tissue damage.
There is an abundance of books and magazine articles on how to prevent the signs of ageing, and I am in awe of how health journalists are able to update us so effusively, week in and week out, on all the developments.
After all, cosmetics and cosmetic surgery aside, surely it all boils down to:
• Eat well – stay thin.
• Exercise – stay fit.
• Avoid bad habits – stay away from toxins.
• Be happy – stay positive.
Oh, and let’s hope your genes are good and … that’s it, isn’t it?
Anti-ageing in the modern world
Well, yes, frankly it is. However, the trouble is this: the majority of my friends and family (myself included) like an alcoholic drink or two and live in a world that is rather polluted and filled with convenience food. I don’t know anyone who is not affected by the stress of everyday life. A few of my crowd still smoke – bless them! We don’t, as a group, exercise quite as much as we should, and, frankly, weight-wise there is more of each of us individually than there should be.
But I don’t want my tribe to head off into the Himalayas to eat brown rice and meditate for eight hours a day. I take pleasure in seeing them on an afternoon or evening at the football or the theatre … and going for a pre-match/show drink with them. I want to enjoy a glass (or more) of wine with my wife over an occasional overindulgent meal and sometimes have a fast-food treat with my children.
Furthermore, I would like to do so for as long as possible in as good a state of health as possible. To do that, I need to know some facts about how I am dealing with this lifestyle:
• How toxic am I and how efficiently can I remove toxins from my body?
• How undernourished or deficient is my lifestyle is making me?
• Which part of me is failing?
• What can I do to compensate for my ‘evils’?
I do not wish to deny myself my indulgences, so by recognizing my personal limits and utilizing functional medical investigations to define my boundaries and capabilities, I can establish a life plan to allow me to live in this ecologically unsound world with my unsound, unhealthy attitude.
Want to join me? If so, you need to know which are your oldest parts, what acceptable lifestyle changes you as an individual need to make and what you need to supplement in your system to allow you to go on for as long and in as healthy a state as possible. My book, Live Longer, Live Younger is dedicated to simplifying the process of:
• understanding your body;
• establishing a lifestyle that fits into your busy schedule; and
• giving basic information on a supplemental programme to cover the deficiencies created by a non-perfect lifestyle in a polluted world.
Healthy Ageing, not Anti- Ageing
The orthodox attitude of medicine to ageing is through drugs and intervention for when we get ill, but not prevention by living a healthy life. It may sound cynical, but companies do not make money if they don’t sell drugs. And they can’t sell drugs to healthy people, so little money is provided to research into the prevention of disease.
What this attitude means is that we’re led down a path where we expect to become ill and infirm as we age, but hope that, if we are lucky, we will be given a drug or provided with a technique or procedure that will keep us going. Here, in the high-tech developed world, we watch our elderly population deal with unproductive years in care homes or in isolation or both.
The concept that it takes a whole village to bring up a child extends in many parts of the world to ‘we need a village to help us age’. We are losing that village, that attitude, and with it our capability to enjoy our later years in good health. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on healthy ageing and optimizing performance as we live longer and are expected to work longer, too. The modern medical world has made great strides with regard to the treatment of diseases associated with ageing (geriatrics), yet we have no real focus or set-up – and, possibly, no current plans – to expand healthy ageing (gerontology) to frontline medicine.
Apart from a few leading experts in theoretical research at our top universities, who can we turn to? There are no doctors in our health services or in mainstream medicine specializing in healthy ageing. The majority of us do not have access to a doctor to whom we can turn and ask, ‘How can I stay well, please?’
Yet, these days, healthy ageing is a far more relevant term than anti-ageing, and it is possible to achieve this much more easily than many people think through simple changes to life patterns and the use of supplements and certain procedures. It is my aim in my book to show you how.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting some of Dr Sharma’s plans so you can plan your day to age healthily, but for now here’s some praise for Dr Sharma’s methods in Live Longer, Live Younger:
‘Healthy ageing from within as much as from without is the key. Dr Sharma and his book will continue to guide me’ – Marie Helvin, model, author and TV presenter
‘Dr Sharma has been a vital part of my own healthy ageing, and I know that his book will be invaluable to a lot of people’ – Hayley Mills, actress
‘Live Longer, Live Younger is a clear and consise guide to optimizing health as we age… Dr Schama provides us with the information and tools to prevent and heal premature ageing and disease and the sooner we start, the easier it is’ – Fouad I. Ghaly MD, Diplomat of the American Board of Anti-Ageing Medicine