Who still doubts the importance of adopting healthy lifestyle habits when it comes to healthy aging? In 2006, I traveled to the Okinawa archipelago in Japan to meet the mythical, and very friendly, centenarians of Okinawa. Scientists have long been interested in their secrets of longevity. Yes, of course, these centenarians have exceptional genes. But that does not explain everything, far from it. In this place, as in all the other “Blue Zones” listed, the lifestyle makes all the difference. Eating well, moving, managing stress, having fun, sleeping, being well surrounded, maintaining healthy and nourishing relationships, cultivating interiority, and finding meaning in life are the secrets to living a long and healthy life. Simply just that. However, simple does not necessarily mean easy.
Even then, as a journalist, I had a fascination with longevity. Now I have made it my passion and my job. A large part of my role as a health coach is to help people establish healthy lifestyle habits that will last, and help them discover their deep motivations that will lead to the successful establishment of healthy living, one step at a time.
In Quebec, and in the Francophonie, we are fortunate to have a panoply of experts who generously and voluntarily share their knowledge, among other things, on the Vitoli blog. I am part of this big family whose common goal is to make a difference in people’s lives and to get them to take full responsibility for their health and well-being. The work of these experts is essential to inform and inspire.
I carry with me the certainty that it is possible to age in good health by staying alert, active, enlightened, and happy. I wish all of us, individuals, families, communities, and societies to take the next small step toward doing good. Whether it’s going for a walk, digging into a good meal filled with the colors of local fruits and vegetables, going to bed a little earlier, or stopping for 5 minutes in the middle of your stressful day to breathe deeply and appreciate all that is going well in your life. Experience it and note how you feel before and after. There is always a little something you can do here and now to take care of yourself.
At our first health coaching meeting, Sandy, 62, told me that her deepest wish would be to go kayaking with her grandchildren and stand up on her paddle board in the summer. I helped her to set up a series of routine movements, to slightly review her diet, visualize herself, and get rid of the limiting and unconscious beliefs she had in the face of aging. A few months later, she sent me a picture of herself with a big smile on her face, standing on her paddle board.
And you, how do you want to age?
Eugénie Francoeur, Global Health Coach