Forever Young

April 11, 2024
Reading time: 3 minutes
Change, Health, Motivation, Power of Thoughts

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“I don’t want to be old when I’m old.”

This is a classic motto from Elaine LaLanne, the veritable superhero of aging and wife of fitness legend Jack LaLanne. Honestly, who does want to be old when they’re old… or any other time, really? As Elaine has been credited with stating many times and in many ways, it all comes down to perspective.

At a truly incredible 98 years old, Elaine still starts every day with 20 minutes of exercise. Before she even gets out of bed, she does several above-the-cover stretches and resistance poses. She still uses weight machines that Jack invented in the 30s and the same treadmill machine they bought together in the 70s. She proves over and over again that health, fitness, and, really, wellness do not require fancy gym classes, equipment, leisurewear, or youth.

She also encourages focusing on strengthening and exercising a different muscle—one that sits just between your ears.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Elaine explained, “You have to believe you can.” It is a mantra that has permeated every aspect of her life. It carried her through physical injuries, times of challenge, and even the long, painful journey of grieving her daughter, Janet, who died tragically in a car accident at the age of 21.

“Everything starts in the mind,” she says. And I couldn’t agree more.

Our thoughts have such an enormous power and impact on our lives. Scientific research tells us that our thought patterns inform much more than our daily decisions and amount to much more than just our personality and sets of preferences. Any kabbalist will tell you this is true, but for the layman, it can feel pretty groundbreaking.

Time for science talk! It all comes down to telomeres, the repeating segments of noncoding DNA that exist at the ends of our chromosomes. (Think of them like the plastic cap at the end of your shoelaces.) They do a few important things, like making sure our genetic material doesn’t unravel, and, most importantly, they shorten with each cell division, determining how fast that cell ages. When they become too short, they stop dividing altogether. They are not responsible for our overall aging process, but they are a huge contributor to what makes us “get old.”

The real kicker—one that Elaine LaLanne intuitively understands—is that they are listening to you. They are listening to your thoughts, the way you eat, how you feel about what you eat, and every other thing you do. They take direction from your dominant thoughts.

Before you get paranoid about every negative thought, though, I’ll invite you back to Elaine’s story. Her life was not without challenges, and she has just as many hard days as positive ones. Her husband, Jack LaLanne, passed away in 2011, and in recent years, she has suffered physical setbacks after a succession of falls. But these are precisely the kinds of moments that remind us we get to choose how we experience life.

Every single thing in your life begins at the level of a single thought. The kabbalists have long taught the power of thoughts. Rav Berg himself stated over and over again that our consciousness is everything. What you think turns into what you do and, based on this science, also determines how quickly you are aging. A new thought may require a new behavior, and that behavior may require making a few changes, but if you’ve followed me for a while, you’re probably already on your way to becoming a Change Junkie.

Elaine LaLanne is such an inspirational example of the power of our thoughts and the fact that our lives are built upon those thoughts. As a result, she didn’t just age; she evolved, grew, flourished, and thrived and did it all with panache. She showed us that our golden years—heck, all of our years!—can be filled with vitality, laughter, and fulfillment. It’s about making the most of every moment, cherishing your health, and never letting the number of candles on your birthday cake dictate your life’s possibilities.

I’ll leave you with one more of Elaine’s powerful, tried-and-true mantras: If you don’t move, you become immovable.

How can you move today? I don’t just mean your body but your thoughts, perspectives, and beliefs. How can you shift your words and the way you speak about yourself and everything else? One big takeaway from Elaine’s wisdom is that moving our physical body helps us invigorate our minds. Take a quick walk today, stand up and stretch, or strike a yoga pose—you’ll be doing your mind and your outlook a big favor, making you feel more youthful than ever. Because who wants to be old when they’re old?


Comments

  1. Jonathan Daniel Kruger Erbstein : April 15, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you! Mindful! Light!

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