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Every One Has Three Ages

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

A Mexican friend told me there is a saying in Spanish, “Everyone has three ages. The one you tell people, the one you look like, and the one you really are.” According to the Functional Aging Institute founded by Dan Ritchie, PhD and Cody Sipe, PhD, there are actually six stages of ages. Ritchie and Sipe have been at the forefront of developing innovative, effective, science-based training programs for mature clients for the past 15 years.

According to Ritchie and Sipe, primary aging is considered to be hard-wired into our genetic code and not alterable. An example of “it is what it is” and acceptance is the best choice. Secondary aging is related to lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity, nutrition, tobacco and alcohol consumption, exposure to toxins or air pollution and UV rays, injury, and illness. Depending on how we choose to live it’s highly possible to positively impact this stage.

Chronological aging is the number of years a person has been alive and is used to categorize an individual. However, it is a very crude and often-inaccurate means of determining how “old” a person is. For example, “he acts younger than his age.” Usual aging is how most people age in today’s society. Typically, the older adult can function independently but has an increased risk of disease or disability due in large part to reduced capacity for performing more intense activities. Again, depending on the approach to maintaining or developing strength and power in the body, this stage can be delayed and sometimes reversed.

Successful aging is defined by the ability to maintain a low risk of disease-related disability, high mental and physical function, and active engagement in life. Taking proactive steps is vital to success, no matter how difficult it might seem.  Active aging is a concept advanced by the International Council on Active Aging and adopted by the World Health Organization to encourage people to remain engaged in life as fully as possible despite health status, disease condition, or socioeconomic status. It recognizes the importance of each of the seven dimensions of wellness (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, environmental, vocational, and social) to the overall well-being of an aging individual.

“Boomers” and “Beyonders” have an opportunity to impact their downward aging trajectories when they engage in physical activity, identify what they can improve, accept their limitations, stay engaged in life, strengthen what they can, and never give up.

Janis McDonald, certified functional aging trainer, professional coach, private gym,, 152 0457.


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