EDITOR’S NOTE

Live Long and Well

By Lashaun Dale

I love September—I have since I was a little girl given the opportunity to finally go to school! I love school. I love fall weather. I love the magic in the air that promises change, opportunity and good things to come.

And I love the September issue of 24Life. This issue, in my opinion, is one of the most important collections we can offer you. It is our longevity issue, and with it, we hope to elevate the conversation around aging, vitality, and ultimately our lifelong search for meaning and purpose.

Another reason I love September is that it kicks off a seasonal ritual for me: my annual study and personal growth plan. First, I reread my journal from the year before. Next, I make a weekend date (and have for 25 years) with Viktor Frankl’s classic book “Man’s Search for Meaning.

I first read this book for professor Elie Wiesel’s lecture series, “Literature of Memory,” at Boston University. This was an amazing, foundational experience in which my classmates and I were encouraged to ponder questions that had no pat answers. Instead, it inspired us to ponder the question of what it means to be human.

The ideas that Frankl, an Auschwitz survivor, shares are timeless and relevant, no matter our age or lot in life. One quote particularly inspires me to think of living a long life, well: “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

When I first encountered this quote, I was a wide-eyed and spirited girl, fresh from the mountains of Montana, dropped into a university that had more students than my hometown had citizens. I wept for days after reading the book. I had grown up with challenges and also great privileges. I had a limited understanding of the depth of suffering in the world. I also had, up to that point, little realization of the strength and resilience that the human spirit and body can muster.

These teachings have informed my professional and personal life, prompting me to consider why we tend to write off those who are older than us, despite their earned wisdom and experience. I believe it’s because we are uncertain about how to handle our changing bodies, our mortality and whether or not we are proud of how we are spending our lives.

Yet we have tremendous control over how we age and how we live as we age. Do we play small or do we aim high? Do we take care of ourselves or do we eat junk food day in and day out? The September issue of 24Life debunks misconceptions and explores the changing landscape of life as we age—with help from the legendary Diana Nyad and a host of experts.

  • Nyad moves us to tackle life each morning with an “Onward!” disposition and to Make. Every. Minute. Count.
  • David Weinstock guides us through NeuroKineticTherapy to eliminate pain in our motion.
  • Celebrity trainer and innovator Jill Miller leads us into the final frontier—our breath—to understand the role breath plays in our physiology and in our everyday life.
  • Dr. Jennifer Haythe shares with us essential advice for heart health and total-body wellness.
  • The next generation of Olympic hopefuls inspire with their insights into pursuing a dream that’s nearer than you might think.
  • Our strength workout is one that you can do, regardless of your age.

It turns out the age we feel may even be more critical to our health than the age defined by our birth date. When we expect to be healthy, we make it so and health tends to win out.

This concept is confirmed in an incredible book by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., called “The Healing Self,” which just landed on my must-read-every-September list. The premise and promise of the book is to supercharge your immunity and stay well for life. It’s packed with research, insights, practices and things to do each day—or undo—to lead us to the health we all desire, for all the years we may have to live. May yours be full of all that you seek and may you find meaning in that search.

P.S.—If reading the September issue wasn’t enough, don’t forget that you can enjoy the magazine and 24Life content (and more on-the-go workouts) through the 24GO app.

EDITOR’S SEPTEMBER CHALLENGE

Awareness is the master key to focus. And the pathway to awareness is attention, which, when trained, becomes your focus. We believe that mindset, movement, nourishment and regeneration are the pillars of good health, but nourishment is often the hardest to address and to understand. It’s also the pillar that manifests tangible results, quickly, in our physiology and our psychology—with some attention.

September 24Life Challenge:

In “The Healing Self,” Dr. Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., focus on how we nourish ourselves, and specifically, they’re on a quest to educate us about and help us manage inflammation. Inflammation is a precursor to many, if not all, diseases in our bodies. On its own, inflammation is not the enemy—and in fact, it has an important role in our health.

But rampant inflammation is a challenge, and we can all benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Our diet is a major potential source of inflammation, when we eat food that for some reason we cannot digest and break down into the nutrients we require. An anti-inflammatory diet means eating less processed food, salt, fat, sugar and, for some, less (or no) wheat or dairy.

“The Healing Self” contains a full-week program to give you ideas. It’s not a restrictive experience but rather one that focuses on organic, whole foods. This month’s challenge has two parts:

  1. Commit to seven days of whole-food, anti-inflammatory eating. You might even consider trying the program for a full month to see how you feel.
  2. Commit to eating one meal each day, alone. Reflect on your relationship with food and fullness. Or consider skipping one meal a day and substituting a healthy bone broth to give your digestion and your body a break. Follow that bone-broth meal with a brief body scan meditation to sense how it feels in your body to make conscious choices for your nourishment.

Share your feedback below or on social media. How was the experience for you?   


Photo credit: Sergio Delle Vedove, iStock Photo; Hermes Rivera, Unsplash

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Author

Lashaun Dale

Lashaun Dale loves yoga and fitness and finds magic in movement, music and mobs of people. She holds degrees in International Relations, Philosophy and Applied Anthropology, as well as an MPH from the School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. With two decades of group fitness programming experience, Dale currently serves as vice president of content & programming for 24 Hour Fitness and editor-in-chief of 24Life magazine. A regular contributor to SELF and Women’s Health and Fitness, as well as popular blogs and podcasts, she’ll teach yoga anytime she is given an opportunity to get her om on.

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