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‘I’m an 82-Yr Old Triathlete and Former Neurosurgeon, and Here’s My Top Tip for Staying Mentally and Physically Sharp’

TToday, Joseph Maroon, M.D., FACS is an 82-year-old triathlete, former neurosurgeon, longevity expert, and current member Aviv Global Aging Consortium. But when he was in his 40s (before he ever considered running, cycling and swimming), he experienced what he calls a “life shake.” The personal loss drove him into such a deep depression that he had to present up neurosurgery.

One day, a concerned co-worker called him and asked him to go for a run. Although Dr. Maroon could barely get away from bed, a co-worker convinced him to placed on an old pair of gowns and provides it a try.

“I used to be exhausted and drained, but that night was the primary night I slept in three or 4 months,” says Dr. Maroon.

Slowly but surely, he stuck with it and even began to include swimming and cycling into his recent fitness program, eventually preparing to grow to be a triathlete. Looking back, he realized that he was healing the brain together with his body. Exercise is one technique to prevent depression, but it could possibly also treat depression because physical activity stimulates the brain to create recent neural connections, which improves brain health overall. After Dr. Maroon was in a position to start practicing neurosurgery again, he even found himself to be a greater, “more empathetic” doctor to his patients.

While exercise helped Dr. Maroon get well from a life-quake, the experience also made him rethink his lifestyle as a former “workaholic.” That’s why today’s advice from a long life expert on find out how to stay mentally and physically fit is to cultivate balance in life and in a world stuffed with global and private challenges.

“You will need to have it if you must function at peak efficiency,” says Dr. Maroon.

Balance is less complicated said than done, but Dr. Maroon says it is a useful exercise to consider the 4 elements of your life because the 4 sides of a square. The 4 sides are work, family/community, physical and spiritual. The length of the side represents the period of time spent and the importance given to that aspect. So, with a pen on a chunk of paper, draw your square. Seriously: Go ahead, do it. If one side is longer or shorter than another, you will get more of a trapezoid than a square, and you possibly can visually see in case your time and priorities are out of order. Cultivating balance means aligning these sides to form 90-degree angles.

Of course, there are occasions when one a part of our lives has more priority and experts agree that is okay. The secret is to be certain it is a conscious alternative.

“Be mindful and aware,” says Dr. Maroon. “Most people, like me, are automatons. I functioned, I lived my day, I did every little thing, reacting to all of the sensory inputs of other people and other circumstances without really being aware of where my life was going or what I used to be doing. Bring awareness and mindfulness into your square every single day.

For Dr. Maroon, this balance is the muse of stress reduction, integrating physical activity, finding meaning, and nourishing the body in a way that contributes to each mental and physical sharpness. Which he considers to be closely related.

“Things that improve mental acuity also improve peak physical performance,” says Dr. Maroon. “They are complementary.”

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