Monday, October 17, 2011

Running for your life at 100

This past weekend Fauja Singh completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. No big deal, except Fauja is 100 years old. He was born in 1911 in India. He ran as a youth but gave it up. When he was 89 his wife and son died unexpectedly. He became very depressed and was running out of reasons to live. But it was running that saved him.

Singh claims his secret to an extended life is no alcohol or smoking, a vegetarian diet with lots of curries, and tea. Importantly, daily exercise is his mainstay. "I have said it before: that I will carry on running, as it is keeping me alive," he told the Toronto Marathon website. He walks or runs at least 10 miles a day.

Fauja Singh is a role model for all of us. Not because he broke a marathon record, but because he was willing to try something new...or old...running. We all need to recognize that finding an activity or interest that is meaningful and purposeful will not only add years to our life, but will add life to our years. We tell everyone to REWIRE! Rewiring is trying new activities, reconnecting with old interests or finding new ones. The focus is not just doing for the sake of being busy, but doing it because it is fulfilling, interesting and fun. Having a reason to get up in the morning makes all the difference in the world as we grow older.

You don't have to be a marathoner. If collecting stamps, hiking, birding, learning to enjoy opera, or any other activity that fulfills is your thing than do it. Make a committment and see the return on your new yourself! As Mr. Singh says, the first 20 miles are the hardest. After that it's a breeze.

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