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Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness and the Sedentary Society, Part 1

Numerous studies have revealed that on average we check our phones more than 200 times a day and have in fact started to become addicted to “staying connected”. We literally “run into” each other while walking and staring at our phones while texting. It happens every day. In the gym I attend for my training sessions, I see numerous people staring at their phones while sitting on weight equipment oblivious to the world around them. I have unofficially observed that up to 80-90% of the people who are there for physical activity are either listening “to something” through headphones or are reviewing data and/or texting someone. This is an enormous emerging challenge with no real solutions in sight: Sedentary lifestyles and technology. 

With the revelations of Facebook’s role in the 2016 elections we are seeing the unfolding of more personal data being used for all kinds of purposes and it is not going to end anytime soon. My question is: Is it worth it for our future health to be so connected through technology or is there a better balance that can be struck that enables us to “reach out” more effectively? I pose this question in the context of our health not only NOW but in the future as well. I see health issues becoming more prevalent because we are literally “sitting our way to ill health”. Sitting has become the “new smoking”! Is there a healthy way forward or are we “tied to our technology” so that we can never break “the ties that bind us” to a life of no movement?

TECHNOLOGY

The challenge  as I see it is that we are no longer “paying attention” to our lives. We need to understand what is happening in our individual experiences as we go through our day and then can hopefully make appropriate and timely decisions that will effect not only our future going forward – but today as well. The obesity crisis (71% of the population is either overweight or obese according to the latest data), the sedentary society that is now a reality, and the role that advancing technology will play in our lives are critical issues that need to be addressed if we are to find a “healthy way forward”.

As I have observed in my own experience, we are living in Steve Jobs vision of a world tied together through technology and available to us 24/7. He envisioned a world where we could access everything we needed through a phone – and computer. He wanted people to have the  “freedom” to do all that they wanted to do efficiently and with a planned effort through the gifts that technology would bring to each of us. I believe that his vision has become one that is “tying” us to our devices so completely that we are “disconnected” from what is actually happening around us. Life is literally “passing us by” and we are completely “unconscious” to this process.

I have lived 80% of my life without any technological assistance whatsoever. To retain my own power I believe I am the one who gets to “choose” how and when I let my computer and phone assist me. Right now I am struggling with the concept of what I will need to sacrifice in order to have technology help me advance my career as a healthy aging specialist moving forward. I will never “catch up” with all the technological advances that are coming – or be inclined to use all the new gadgets just because “everyone needs the latest model of a device”. That is NOT how I want to live my remaining years. Is this a choice you need to review as well? I want to use my time more toward serving others and staying healthy and fit so that I can enjoy my 70’s to the fullest – and have the greatest impact on people’s lives that I can.

What will your priorities be going forward? Will you really care if you have the most recent technological advancement or will you set other priorities for yourself? Only YOU can decide how you want to integrate the hours of your day with the technology you have and use daily. As a practical matter it is through our choices that we determine the course of our lives and if we choose to spend them staring at our phones life WILL indeed pass us by. We will be sick, fat, and on drugs as we enter the very years that we wanted to enjoy. Is this you now or will you decide to change that future today by making new choices that give you time “to be” the best version of yourself that you can imagine?

CONSCIOUSNESS

I keep coming back to the issue of consciousness because I believe it is a fundamental principle of what healthy aging means to ME and after all isn’t that what matters most? We determine our future by the choices we make today. It really IS that simple. If we choose to spend the hours of our day sitting and staring at a computer screen or smart phone we will create a life of dependence and ill health that WILL dominate our days until we eventually die.

For the past five to eight years my daughter has been fighting the longest and most difficult of fights for her health. Alcohol dependency, health issues of significance and general mishaps (falls, concussions etc.) have created a life that is characterized by hospital stays, ER visits, medical interventions of all shapes and sizes, and numerous appointments with specialists and medical professionals to treat her and get her back on the road to health. I am sure she never envisioned her 40’s being dedicated to her health in such a complex way but she is in a battle for her life now and the outcome is NOT certain. There are encouraging signs emerging but as her father I am very concerned about what IS going to happen to her going forward.

Her situation is not all that uncommon and many of us do NOT realize how close to our mortality we will come before we realize we “could have” or “should have” chosen differently when we had the chance. Lisa’s challenges started to form in her 20’s on both a professional and personal level and she is “unwinding” all of that harm now. I can only love her and wish her well – and let the professionals “do what they need to do” for her to enhance her chances at a full life again.

How will you choose? Will you continue to stare at your phone or will you decide to start living in the “real world”? I want to live in the real world as much as possible and therefore I DO NOT check my phone while training at the gym – it remains in my bag . I do NOT text so I do not need to check for text messages. My latest phone IS a very good phone with incredible capabilities but I will NOT make it the focus my day. I want to smile at people, greet my day with an “attitude of gratitude” and bless my very breath. I awake with gratitude and hopefulness in my heart and carry that feeling throughout the day so my “consciousness” may expand – and not  shrink. Let your consciousness grow beyond its current boundaries and you WILL be rewarded in kind and isn’t that worth all your best intentions?

IN SUMMARY

As I live each day my mind is always focused on my many blessings. I think about Lisa and her continuing efforts to heal and am grateful I don’t have to face such challenges. I get to breathe and think and feel – and BE as alive as I choose to be because healthy aging starts “within us” and cannot be derived from our technology no matter how SMART it may be. On one level Steve Jobs was right. Dealing with the complexities of the modern world DOES require wonderful advancements in technology but at what price? Do we succumb to the “siren call” of the internet or do we USE it as the tool it was meant to be? I don’t think even Steve Jobs would object to that line of questioning, do you? Only YOU can decide your future – what will it be?

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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3 Keys to Healthy Aging

No one really knows why we age other than to acknowledge that as our cells die and don’t get replaced, organs – and ultimately our bodies  – do indeed die. The role that disease plays in this process is obvious – especially if there is no successful treatment available that can address the underlying causes of the problem. I believe in the “art of prevention” as a strategy for helping not only extend our lives – but also improving the quality of the time we have to live.

I did not come to this understanding in my early years because when we are young we assume we will “live forever”. It is only as we grow older and have to face the challenges of aging that we begin to appreciate the beauty and mystery of our own bodies – and what we “could” have done better along the way.

I decided that based upon my own experiences over the past 7 plus decades of life that we ARE in control of much of the aging process as we currently know it. I could assign a number to it (i.e. 80, 90%) but I would most likely be wrong. I will therefore ask instead what if we could control the “majority” of the outcomes we might face, then how would WE choose – and act – today to prevent problems in the future? When we REACT rather than RESPOND to life’s “urgings” we are always going to be “behind the curve” and face unintended consequences.

There are people who live to be hundred or more and then there are those of us who “die before their time”. How do we distinguish between being “lucky” and making good choices and does making thoughtful choices always work? I believe it does and this is why I thought I would share with you what I consider to be the three most important keys to healthy aging as I have lived them.

BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

From a purely practical standpoint this key is what I would call a “no-brainer”. I started life on Maui in the mid 1940’s (1946) and was introduced to swimming before I could even walk. I remember a man holding me by the stomach in a half empty pool teaching me to kick my legs and paddle my arms. That man became my future swim coach and his name was Mack Nakano – a former champion himself. He shared his passion and love for swimming that animated his own life and I have carried that love and passion for physical activity within me ever since those wonderful days of my boyhood on Maui.

As I grew and I moved on from swimming to other sports (because of circumstances beyond my control), I found I had formed a love for all forms of physical activity. I discovered other ways to enjoy being active when I was no longer competing and that main form of activity became running. As I adjusted to life on the mainland at Syracuse University in 1964, I began a running campaign that has stayed with me to the present day. I can’t imagine letting even one day go by without stressing my body in some form and even when I was injured as I was last year, I still found ways to train and remain active. This idea is a part of WHO I AM.

I have run over 65,000 miles in the more than half a century I have been a runner. I believe my commitment to being fit has saved my life many times over during my lifetime – even in the darkest of times when I felt lost and without hope. My question to you is: What is your passion when it comes to being physically active and will you honor that passion the way I did with my running program? If you don’t have one – then find one! Being physically fit does NOT guarantee a healthy body but a healthy body does require a FIT body. I am hopeful my “luck” continues into the years ahead. I will do everything in my power to insure that it does!

BECOMING A “CRITICAL THINKER”

This is my second choice for a key to healthy aging because the key to life IS thinking and the corresponding choices that we make leading to the actions that we take as a result. ALL thought is powerful but it is in HOW we CHOOSE to use these “power houses” of life that makes all the difference. With the fast paced changes that are occurring in all facets of life today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know “what to think”. I say that becoming “aware of our thoughts” is a key to healthy aging because they lead us to our potential choices and it is through our choosing that we can enhance our circumstances – or cause them to do us great harm.

An example of choice gone wrong would be the choice to smoke. We all know the dangers inherent in smoking – or taking drugs for that matter – but many of us do it anyway. My father started smoking during World War II as many service men and women did during that terrible conflict and as a result shortened their lives. My father died in November of 1983 at the age of 64 from cancer which had spread throughout his body but started in his lungs. I saw him the week before he died and it left an indelible impression on me.  I was 37 at the time and I vowed to never go out like that. The past 35 years have been healthy ones for me because I cared about my future health and most importantly ACTED on that thought.

Deciding to become thoughtful and critically involved in our thoughts is an important part of the healthy aging process. Don’t “fall into” your choices – make them consciously and with the belief that you are doing what is right for you. People buy pills of all kinds sight unseen, and other potentially dangerous products online all the time “without thinking about the consequences” of their actions. I believe that we MUST “think before we leap”. It is the only sensible way to move forward in life and hopefully “cut the odds” in our favor so my advice is simple: Get in touch with your thoughts and act according to what they are allowing you to see and feel about yourself – and then choose wisely. This is the best any of us can do and it will insure WE are choosing our path in life – and not the other way around!

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

I am not religious and have never found comfort – or peace for that matter – in any conventional religion but I have found that the spiritual path is available to all of us who seek a different way. I found this path in 1985 through a minister at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach by the name of Peggy Bassett. She introduced me to the principles that would guide my life and choices going forward and that have sustained me to this day 33 years later.

I believe in “quiet time” for myself (meditation and affirmative prayer work – a form of prayer that affirms rather than asks for something). Every day presents me with a new opportunity to get “in touch” with my “inner self”, providing me with the opportunity to receive guidance – and even wisdom – that may give me clarity or a new understanding of some aspect of my life that may be causing me pain or any other challenge I need to address in the present. I will respond only when I can “see my way clear” to a solution and only then will I act on this wisdom or guidance.

The role of the spiritual journey is to bring an expanded consciousness – or awareness – into our life experiences and allow us to contact joy, peace, harmony and love in a way that enriches and sustains us while allowing us the opportunity to “let go” of the baggage of our pasts. Regret, guilt, unexpressed anger, hatred and other forms of negative inner turmoil CAN and DO lead us to an early death. The body responds to all forms of emotion and if these emotions – and thoughts – are not directed by US to a “higher consciousness” they will bring sickness and chronic illness in all their terrible manifestations into our lives.

I have never been in a hospital, had surgery, taken drugs or medication, or had any outside medical intervention that I can recall – ever. I believe that through the spiritual path that Peggy me gave all those years ago – coupled with my ongoing efforts to remain healthy and fit – I thrived and DO wake up each day grateful and hopeful. I am “lucky” but this luck came to me because I ACTED on my BEST instincts – and intentions – at the time I was making crucial choices in my life. What will your choice be when it comes to letting go of “preconceived notions” of what you “think” is true so that you can finally live in the REAL truth of who you are – and are becoming?

IN SUMMARY

I believe the world we live in today is “noisy”. There are too many voices and too little silence. I believe in being quiet and thinking and experiencing my life on more than just the superficial levels available in today’s world. I believe listening is becoming a lost art and that we are never going to “hear” anything of value arguing with another. Sometimes I feel as though I was not meant for this world and look back with fondness on the world as it was when I was a boy learning to swim and ultimately getting to know the me that I am today.

The keys to healthy aging are mine and mine alone. Whether others take what I have shared and “think about” them is for others to know. I believe that there is something greater and wiser than me that created me and is helping me to share what I have learned in my own unique way. This is my mission and this mission – or purpose – is always “on my mind”. I want it to be there constantly so that I may choose to support it in any way that I can in order to bring my life full circle from student to teacher – and back to student again.

What will you do with this information and how will your choices today affect your future? Only you will know but I will tell you that in “thoughtful living” we are ALWAYS rewarded by life with the best that it has to offer. Isn’t that worth your time and commitment? It is to me – and it is PRICELESS! Think about that!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

I am one who believes that REAL change occurs from within ourselves first and that once we decide to accept this principle, our lives – and minds (and hearts) – can become clear of all the “baggage” we have been dragging around with us over the course of our lives. Self esteem issues, guilt, regret, resentment, and so much more can be released so that we can finally live the lives we always wanted. I know from personal experience how difficult it has been for me to arrive “at clarity” on this point and now that I have I can report that my life is beginning to finally “take off”! It only took me 38 years to get to this point of consciousness but can you do better? Absolutely! What I would like to propose to you is that it does NOT have to take this long for us to finally “take control” of our lives because we CAN take control of HOW WE THINK today!

I will share with you some key ideas that will enable and empower you to do this in your own lives and free yourself from the bondage of old, outdated beliefs and ideas about yourself that no longer serve you but inhibit your growth – and expansion. It is my belief that the current state of affairs with regards to the high drug use in this country, the obesity epidemic, and the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes are due in part to “how we think” about ourselves and that medicine alone CANNOT “cure” these challenges. This is why I am a proponent of positive change “from within” first so that we can address the underlying “causes” of these potentially life ending challenges.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is the “controller” of our experiences and actions. We behave from its instructions and the result is that we create the world as “others” wanted for us when we were children and young adults. Programming of our subconscious occurs very early in our lives and continues unabated throughout our early adult years. It is not until we reach a “crisis point” later in our lives that we begin to realize that control of our thinking created by our parents, teachers and “the others who cared about us” began long before we became “conscious” of their effect on us. I reached this point in 1982 when my wife left me at the age of 35 and I did not find a path to healing until 3 years later in 1985 at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach, California. This spiritual path was critical to uncovering “the real me” and I am still evolving to this very day.

I bring this idea forward now so that I can state that we will ALL arrive at a “crisis point” in our lives whether it be earlier like me or later like my daughter who is facing significant health issues in her mid 40’s, but arrive at it we WILL. Changing my mind about myself was difficult and for many years seemed an impossible task but I welcomed the challenge and through my own spiritual journey have found the “essential me”. This is what I want for you – to find your “essential self” – and free yourself from past guilt, pain, and regret. I never want to carry these burdens again and I know I won’t because I take time each day to “check in with my thoughts” and mostly find them to be encouraging, loving – and most of all hopeful and grateful (the starting point of my day).

Keys to Changing Our Thinking

AFFIRMATION

The struggle to changing our thinking is embedded in the previous programming of our subconscious minds earlier in our lives. “Replacing” this programming is worth the effort and one of the keys to doing this is the practice of affirmation. I will say that eventually with time and a new belief in yourself that you will see results that will amaze you. I will share two affirmations I use every day in my meditation and prayer work. They are only examples and come from my experience with religious science (you can develop your own) but remember an affirmation can be as simple as “I am loved and loving”.

“Today I am standing on the threshold of new experience. Possibilities extend before me and I accept their magnificence. Through my spoken and accepted word, I co-create with divine intelligence the plan for my life. Here and now I am open to the greatness yet to come and I am ready for a miracle”.

“Today I accept that the light of God’s love is in, through and around me. I feel its presence in everything that I do. I experience clarity in all things as this light guides my way into the unknown”.

There is REAL power in our words and thoughts CAN be changed through repetition. I am living proof that all of this works and is possible because I have practiced this discipline since 1985 and I have continued this practice every day since. It is the most important part of my day. Meditation (“going within my mind”) and prayer are the tools I use to stay “centered” throughout my day. You CAN do this too if you make up your mind to do so!

VISUALIZATION

I visualize my future and what I want to accomplish in that future so that I can DEFINE what I want to do – and be. I AM a speaker and a writer and I want to make a difference using these gifts so I am diligently preparing for my contribution to life through writing – and eventually speaking. I use visualization as the powerful tool that it can be by “experiencing” my future work NOW. I speak to audiences with clarity because I have already written about the issues that are important to me to share with people going forward in my life. I know WHO I am, WHY I am here, WHAT my message is, and the change I WILL bring to people of all ages in this future that I now love so much.

I have described in my book “Healthy Aging & You” a PATH forward for anyone who wishes to make significant changes in their lives and finally free themselves from the “shackles of the past” where most of us live our lives – or in trepidation over a future that has not yet occurred. I believe in the power of change and embracing change NOW – not later! I will NEVER go back to my old way of being. It is a waste of energy and more importantly a waste of precious time – time that is fast diminishing. VISUALIZE yourself as you want to be and with affirmative ACTION you too WILL become who you want to be! Finally, as Satchel Paige (the great African- American pitcher) once said: “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you”!

IN SUMMARY

The power of thinking is undisputed by any expert worth their reputation. My intention is to serve as an example to people that positive thinking CAN and WILL change the course of people’s lives – especially for those that desire it with all their hearts. Meditation, affirmation, and visualization are three keys to “changing our thinking and changing our lives”. Facing crisis in life is a part of living and dealing with crises intelligently and thoughtfully can provide the necessary steps to creating REAL change in our lives that WILL make a REAL difference!

I see a world changing rapidly and with great change comes the potential for great progress if we will only THINK about our lives from the perspective of what we EACH can do to insure that the change we are experiencing is helpful and constructive – and not destructive. This is my mission: To be a  participant in change in order to help secure a positive result for the many who desire it. We ALL play a role in life. What will your role be? You can start today to determine the answer to this question and I wish you the best on your new journey! Travel well.

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Finding Your Voice, Making Your Contribution to Life

When we reach a certain stage of life we are confronted with the reality – and question – of how we have lived that life. Did I care passionately about something? Did I care about my own unique contribution to life and if not, what DID I care about? How has my life mattered in the grand scheme of things? These and other questions have occurred to me since I first sat down to write “Healthy Aging & You” just before my 60th birthday in 2006. I have noticed as the years have passed since that moment that I have become acutely aware of the power of my thoughts, words and choices.

I feel liberated now from my past and not concerned about the uncertainty of the future because I am now part of the “flow of life” – living in the present. As I have become inspired to write again, I am feeling blessed to be able share with you the lessons I have learned along the way that enabled and empowered me to find my own voice and arrive at a place I call CLARITY. Being clear on WHO you are, what you BELIEVE to be true, and WHY you are here makes life seem so simple – and yet exhilarating – and surprising. I feel alive and hopeful and grateful each morning when I wake up. With this idea in mind I enter each new day with a passion I cannot diminish in any way.

What can you expect from today? How will you BE in life today? How will you respond to the challenges that come your way? Finally, what choices will you make today that WILL influence your tomorrow? I will share three key ideas with you that will help you answer these and other important questions that most certainly will arise as you “grow older – and not old”.

Thoughts

In my spiritual philosophy one of the principles we learn is that “thoughts are things” – meaning they are REAL – and from them springs forth our reality in form. Each of us is the vehicle through which our reality forms based upon our thought patterns and biases. What we entertain mentally has a profound effect upon how our lives unfold. Thoughts are creative. They form the foundation of our contribution to life itself.

The thought that I needed to write again occurred to me when I became aware of the ideas I was thinking about this past week. The article on learning to value oneself was the first one that had been present in my consciousness. Today my focus is on helping you “find your voice” and so this article is now “front and center” in implementing my new choices. I respond to these – and other thoughts – the same way as I have over the past decade – by taking specific ACTION – with purpose.

Since writing is a part of what I consider to be one of my natural gifts, I will express these ideas in written form today – and as a speaker at a later time. My purpose is to help “change one thing in one person’s life today” as I have alluded to on my new website (healthyhappyfit.com). This process repeats itself quite easily for me now because I have become “responsive” to life’s urgings within me and I no longer question the process. I just DECIDE and follow my thought patterns to my next step and then wait patiently for my next thoughts to emerge. This is HOW life unfolds if we allow it to BE in our lives.

Question: When do you schedule time to “listen to your thoughts” and let them find expression in form in your life? Something to consider.

WORDS

Words are the form our thoughts – and subsequent ideas – take when we allow them to move forward in our consciousness. Consciousness is nothing more than a “state of awareness” and without coming to a place of awareness we cannot grow from where we ARE to where we want to BE. I am very careful to choose words that are hopeful, loving  and filled with a sense of gratitude for when we are grateful for what we have – more of the good of life can be added to our experience.

I want more in my life of all that is good – and that I finally know I deserve.  Some of this good is recognizable to all of us and includes inner peace, prosperity, abundance, friendship, health (both inner and outer), harmony – and many others too numerous to mention here. You get the idea! I no longer want to “fight” for I want in my life because fighting implies opposition to something and I am no longer in opposition to anything. I have decided to “reach out by reaching within myself” and let my gifts do my work for me.

If your words DO indeed have power within them then CHOOSE them wisely. As Thumper’s mom said to him (Bambi) “if you got nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all”! That sentiment seems to work fine for me so remember your words are the vehicle through which your thoughts become “real” so choose them wisely and you WILL rewarded in kind. Your life will have become so much more meaningful and fulfilling just by simply letting your thoughts be heard in the kindest and most loving way. “Getting” becomes “giving” and this is where life expands to “meet the thinker”!

CHOICES

Making choices represents the REAL power of living life ON PURPOSE. It is in making choices – from the simple ones to the complex ones – that we set in motion the outcomes we will experience in the future. Being “in the present” means NOT staring at your phone 24/7 or not “looking up” to acknowledge another human being with a smile – and a greeting. I see this everyday in my life and it is MOST disturbing to me. Technology “runs” our lives and we have become oblivious to our surroundings – or the people that inhabit them. We CANNOT succeed in life if there is no longer a present because we are living in the past – or preparing for a future that has not yet come.

Choices reflect our priorities – or lack of same. I never want to NOT think about my choices because I know they establish my path forward. Writing and speaking come naturally to me and I want to “embody” my choices because I want them to represent me in the BEST possible way. I am always going to choose that which will enable me to be “the best example of the change I wish to see in the world”. How about you? What is your best look like to you? THINK about WHO you ARE today and ask yourself: Am I choosing wisely and if now why not? You WILL BE rewarded in kind for your “thoughtfulness”!

IN CONCLUSION

Our thoughts, words and choices reflect WHO WE ARE today. Are they helping us or hindering our progress? Finding “our voice” means that we know WHO we are and WHY we are here. Let your thoughts speak volumes FOR you through the words you choose and the choices you make. Let the world “see” the REAL you and know within yourself that you not only CAN but ARE making a difference by your very presence in the world. Leave your regrets behind and never have to live with guilt again. Be free to live the life you always dreamed of living and START TODAY! Don’t wait for tomorrow for we may not get tomorrow. Believe in your power and express it with love, authority and clarity! You will be amazed at what happens next! Travel well.

Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Believing in Your Value

My experience has taught me that the key to living a happy, healthy and fit life is to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate our own individual and unique value. This thought occurred to me again in late January when I was interviewed by Kate Delaney for her nationally syndicated radio program on public access radio. She focused on my writing – specifically my book “Healthy Aging & You” – and asked me to discuss the principles and ideas that I considered important “to growing older and not old”. This idea of becoming “more” as we age is one that enlivens and inspires me each day to become the  best version of myself that I can possibly be. Through my interview I recognized – finally – that I have learned to “value myself” and this has led me to want to share with you what that means in terms of healthy aging as I now understand it.

DECIDING

The first and most important point I want to make is that we must DECIDE to value ourselves and then allow a learning process to unfold that enables and inspires us to DEFINE what that means for ourselves. For mean the value I have decided for myself is the value that comes with becoming passionate about fitness as age. I value my health above all things including family, money and time because through being healthy I get the opportunity to make my own unique contribution to life – and help as many people as I can while I am still here.

My contribution is the value I create by being committed to my PURPOSE which as I state on my website (healthyhappyfit.com) is to “change one thing in one person’s life today”. As I spoke to Kate and answered her questions, I realized I am absolutely CLEAR on what it is I am here to do and WHY I am doing it. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of people of all ages so that they too can access the benefits of a “life well lived”. Each person on the planet has been endowed with unique gifts and through the sharing of those gifts CAN create a life of meaning and fulfillment if they are committed to their vision and purpose.

CREATING

Creating the best life we can from this perspective of sharing our “natural gifts” and living from our own unique vision that embodies our “best example” of ourselves is the “true” way to health, peace and joy. As I spoke to Kate, I realized at 71 that I had arrived at a place of honesty within myself that I had never known before. I was truly “being myself” as I had always envisioned from my earliest days as a boy on Maui who loved his friends, swimming and playing. She commented on my passion and love for  my message and said that among the thousands of people she had interviewed I was in her “top 5” all time. That made my heart jump! I KNEW my value lay in my gift of expression and that I was now a legitimate “advocate” for the principles of healthy aging as I had described them in “Healthy Aging & You” just before my 60th birthday.

Creating a life of meaning and value takes time. It is something we “grow into” as we experience the life we are living and cannot be rushed or “manufactured”. It has to be real and created from “within” by the words we use daily (self talk), the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs we hold that inspire us, the choices we make, and finally, the actions we take in support of our daily goals. Where the “rubber meets the road” for me is the training that I do daily – mentally, physically, and spiritually to enhance my vision and purpose. I am inspiring people every day in my fitness programming at the gym where I train because many know me as “the old guy” running and lifting his way to fitness goals that I don’t believe exist anywhere in the country at this time.

For me being the best “example of the change I wish to see in the world” is embodied in my workouts and meditation and daily prayer work. I believe in the “inner journey” of life and not to rely on others to define me. This is MY job. Since that day in June of 1985 when I first heard a speaker say in a presentation to a national speaker’s association audience that “if we don’t know what we stand for, we will fall for anything”. I have made it my personal mission to LEARN what I stand for in life. This understanding and “knowing” came through my interview with Kate and I am hopeful and grateful every day as a result of this insight.

DOING

Doing is the final piece to the puzzle of “valuing oneself”. We have to act and create in order to live a life of meaning and contribution. I understand my future is limited and that I will never know how much time I have left in which to share my message BUT I DO KNOW I can act TODAY and that is enough. My workouts are developed from my passion for fitness and my work is derived from this basic “impulse” I have to train and be stronger and faster as I age. Today I am running 6 mile training runs at high intensity and lifting weights and stretching to insure I can PERFORM at the highest levels for my audiences in the future. This is MY REASON FOR BEING now and it suits me.

I can see me “doing” my work for years to come because I valued not only myself over the years but my  life as well. This knowledge was always within me and through my spiritual journey I learned how to measure and understand it as a part of my daily life. I am “practicing” the principles of healthy aging every day in my choosing and activities so that my presentations continue to be authentically “real” and meaningful to those I contact in the future. It is in the DOING that we become “fully realized human beings” and my guess is that we ALL want to leave behind something unique that only we could create! This idea makes sense doesn’t it? Get busy “doing” today what you CAN to become the best version  of yourself that you can be but remember to “think” first about WHY you are doing what you are doing and remain “connected” to your inner self – the only “true guide” you will ever need.

In Summary

I have shared three key ideas with you that you can use today to improve your chances of living a life you have always dreamed of experiencing. MY hope is that like me this year through my interview with Kate Delaney, you will want to discover your “true value” and DECIDE to live your life in accordance with that value. Your goals need to include every aspect of your being mentally, spiritually and physically because all three of these principles are required if we are to find our true value in becoming the best version of ourselves.

How and when you decide to act on this challenge is entirely up to you. You create and embody what you choose to BE and this includes the words we use daily, the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs that we hold, the choices we make everyday and finally, the actions we decide to take in support of our purpose. My hope for you is that you find yourself getting excited and becoming as passionate as I feel right now because I know time WILL run out for me too and I DO NOT want to leave this life with any regret – or guilt – over “what could have been” if only I had acted! Travel well.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

Healthy Aging: A Paradigm Shift to Personal Responsibility

The world today is dedicated to technology, advancing research and the access to unlimited information on all manner of subjects. Each of us relies on technology not only for our questions about life but also for receiving the answers. And oh, by the way, we want our answers NOW! The speed with which we live our lives is increasing everyday and sometimes it can be very frustrating to realize that we can’t “have it all – and do it all”.

In my opinion, what has been lost in the race to become technologically advanced, is the notion of healing our illnesses and addressing underlying CAUSES so that we may each partner with ourselves as positive and loving participants in our own care. The field of healthcare is also undergoing a transformation in the 21st century – a paradigm shift if you will – toward ever more increasing complexity and technological innovation. For the individual this has many positive aspects, but in many ways it is also becoming increasingly difficult to navigate – and understand not only “what it is – but how to use it”.

When I was a child, we saw our doctor for our shots and annual checkups for school. There were relatively no other aspects of this relationship than seeking help if we got sick or injured. The doctor was very often a family friend and most of the time was able to spend quality time with the patient on each visit.

Today we rely on the healthcare system to serve a wide variety of very complex health needs. The doctor is very often busy and can spend relatively little time discussing our issues in depth because the system is designed to maximise results, revenue, and optimise time. Specialties are now common for everything from brain, heart and lungs to bones, hormones and many others that require a referral from another physician and these visits typically involve further testing at each stop along the way (more complexity). The patient is “processed” and drugs are almost always involved in any recommendation or treatment.

The juggling of information and treatments is a significant part of any participation in the healthcare system of the 21st century. This complexity – and cost – is a major part of the challenge we face going forward in designing a “patient – doctor” partnership that can hopefully restore “some” of the basic strengths that were once a part of the “older” system of delivering healthcare to people when it was really a personal and individual service.

The partnerships that are most important in today’s world of healthcare are the following: pharmaceutical, insurance, medical, government, hospitals, and finally the doctor. The doctor is stuck between a “rock and hard place” because the system is driven by money and profits for the most part. Insurance companies control the payment systems and the patient – and doctor – are left to try and understand billing systems and other ramifications of the “treatment process”.

The healthcare model of the future

The way I see it now is that we are EACH responsible for our own health (the new paradigm) and the outcomes of our choices will determine the results that we obtain in securing – or losing – our health. In the period between 1988 and 2011, I was unable to afford health insurance so I “bet on myself” and the result turned out well. I used my fitness world as my insurance program and made sure to protect myself from risk to the best of my ability while training my body, mind and spirit to be as healthy and fit as possible.

Once I qualified for Medicare at 65 in 2011, I continued to behave as though I had no insurance and have done quite well with this strategy to the present day. It does not mean that I will NEVER need to see a doctor or use the insurance I now have, it just means that I have been able to live in a world of my OWN making without ever being “stuck” in a system that does not know me and could care less about what I need. I believe I am an example of the possibility of health as it could exist in the future if we each take care of ourselves properly every day of our lives and remember the aspects that WILL characterize our true individual healthcare program:

  • what we think – whether our thoughts are constructive or destructive;
  • what we eat – whether we eat healthy and natural foods as opposed to unhealthy, packaged foods full of preservatives;
  • what we feel – whether our emotions are positive (e.g. love, compassion, patience, understanding, etc…) or negative (hatred, anger, frustration, etc…);
  • what we choose to do (or not do) – a number of lifestyle choices such as smoking, fitness and using drugs, will impact our health;
  • what we believe.

This “wellness” concept I am describing is in “play” today in many forms and is increasingly becoming the “model” by which all healthcare programs will be judged in the future. True “prevention” to me is NOT only testing for disease but depends on making the best choices we can every single day of our lives and becoming responsible and accountable for those choices going forward (personal responsibility). I am not saying we will never need others to help us because the unforeseen aspects of life always have a way of “showing up” in our lives regardless of how carefully and thoughtfully we have behaved in our lives.

What I believe to be the healthcare model of the future going forward will be a partnership not only with ourselves but with professionals who have the time, knowledge, and ability to address our needs from an aspect of “healing – not curing” what ails us.

When my father passed away from cancer in November of 1983 at the age of 64, he had taken on no responsibility for what had gotten him sick in the first place. He had also taken no part in his treatment to try and overcome the challenges he was going to face going forward. I believe this “passive” behavior played a part in contributing to his death at a relatively early age. Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and many stressors “seen and unseen”, “known and unknown” (and much more) probably “disabled” his ability to know what was happening to his body as he aged.

rsz_healthyThis experience at age 37 probably did more for me than I will ever know since I would be tested in the years ahead by many failures, challenges, hurts, resentments, guilt and suffering – all CAUSED by me and the choices I made in my own life. The ONE thing I did right was make a commitment to my OWN health and fitness needs and when the time came to deal with the consequences of my choices – I was able to DO SOMETHING I loved – and that was run. This is why I can say today that running saved my life – because I truly believe that it did. Fitness was my anchor. My advice to you today?

  • Get moving!
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Create positive health habits by making thoughtful choices.
  • Don’t wallow in the past and dump all your regrets.
  • Don’t let your fears dominate your thinking and be open to change.
  • Bless your gifts and those that love you.
  • Be grateful for being alive today and never take your life for granted.
  • Remember to smile everyday and be open to new experiences.
  • Get off your phone and step away from your devices – and computer – and “take a break” from self imposed pressure and stressors.
  • Finally, take time to be with your own thoughts and let them “wash over you” until you feel happy with what you are thinking. WHAT WE THINK – WE BECOME”.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

Healthy Aging by the Decades: Your 60s

In this last part of the series I will share with you what it has meant to me to train for my 70s – and look forward to training for my 80s. The notion of living well today – and creating a healthy and happy tomorrow – is one I am living by everyday in the present.  We ARE powerful – if we are conscious of our potential in the present moment. In fact, I have saved the best for last: the issue isn’t getting older – it is getting old.

The state of the medical arts

My daily observations confirm that people are indeed “aging badly” and it is only getting worse with the rise of sedentary lifestyles, the ever increasing obesity epidemic, and the growing attachment to our “devices” – those things that continue to rob us of precious time in the present. Medication and drugs now play a crucial role in the world of healthcare. Joint replacement surgeries are on the rise and only increasing in number with each passing day. Our reliance and dependence upon technology to solve our health issues and challenges is a key ingredient in how we are treating “what ails us” today. Specialization has increased throughout the medical profession to the point that we no longer see “our doctor” – we see many doctors. This is the reality of the 21st century and these trends are creating a world that I hardly recognize. I am convinced that the individual is slowly being removed from the process of truly being a partner in his own health decisions and the “system” is becoming overwhelming for all of us.

So what are we to do about this problem of aging healthfully in a world that doesn’t yet recognize the concept of personal wellness while promising “cures” and “quick fixes” through drugs, surgeries, and diets? The internet is full of answers that can now come to us in “the blink of an eye”. Is this the right path to health?

The answer in my mind is ‘NO’, but the truth DOES rest in becoming personally responsible – and accountable – for our own health and lifestyle choices. This power I recognize comes from within not from without, from relying on our ‘self’ instead of others. By taking responsibility and remaining present TODAY, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to determine our own health and fitness futures. This is becoming increasingly difficult in the world of the 21st century and is creating a significant roadblock to progress. Training mentally, physically and spiritually represents our best hope for a healthy future.

Back in 1988, when I “bet on myself” after losing my health insurance and chose the path of the fitness professional, I was not sure what was going to happen to me in the years ahead. I only knew that since I could not afford health insurance on my own, I was going to have to be responsible enough, smart enough, and finally lucky enough to do “it alone” and “take care of myself”. My continuing education in the fitness profession – and commitment to my own health and fitness needs – gave me strength and confidence.

Obviously it worked out for me and the idea that “we are all more powerful than we realize” is one I am willing to “bet on” as well. The notion that we don’t control our health outcomes is false. We are – through our choices – powerful beings, but if we don’t believe it for ourselves then we ARE powerless to change. Changing our minds – and attitudes about our potential – is critical to any positive outcome.

What I learned from my 60s

Healthy Aging & YouThe decade of my 60s started evolving from the moment I finished writing my book Healthy Aging and You in 2006. Everything I have done, learned, and applied in my life since that special moment has gone toward becoming the “example of the change I wish to see in the world”. My example is similar to the one Jack Lalanne spent his entire life perfecting and sharing with the world over the course of his 96 years on earth. I see the benefits of healthy aging in my own experience now because I cared to look at the possibilities of my own “inner” power, and at the same time, I acted upon the principles of healthy aging as I understood them in my own life.

My running program, my spiritual practices, and my weight training programs were designed for me to find the message in my own life and be able to crystallize it in my consciousness so that I could share it with the world. I have been training my mind, body, and spirit every day with the hope of making a difference in the world – and bring meaning into my own life. I have been attempting to recognize the potential that resides within me – and embrace the belief that we are indeed the “captains of our own ships”.  It is up to each of us to decide the direction our lives will take – and it all begins with choice.

The decade of my 60s has shown me that I am capable of far more than I ever dreamed possible. This message was driven home to me through my running program. By taking a “leap of faith” one day in the fall of 2015 I found out that I am fully capable of running at a 5 minute per mile pace on the treadmill and am able to sustain that pace over time. The goal of running a 6 minute mile on my 80th birthday is now REAL in my consciousness because I learned I CAN run faster than that as demonstrated in my training runs in my 60s.

I could never have learned this important lesson about myself had I continued to run outside on the roads – it would not have been possible for me to achieve. BELIEF in oneself is CRUCIAL to any positive growth in life and this is true regardless of the form it takes. I now believe in my potential for great things because I finally believe I am not only capable of great things – but I deserve them as well. I get to live the best life has to offer now as I approach my 70s – and beyond – because I wanted to be an example of what is possible so badly. I never gave up on my vision. You too can have this – but you have to first believe – and then ACT upon your belief.

Some suggestions for your 60s

  • You are NEVER too old to start again.
  • You are never “out of the game” unless you choose to remove yourself from it first. (Quitters never win and winners never quit)
  • It is never over until you say it is over.
  • How LONG we live is irrelevant as long as we get to live the life we choose.
  • Life is precious and cannot be “replaced” with something better because there is NOTHING better than being truly ALIVE.
  • We each count and it matters what we do, believe, feel, think, and dream. Dreaming and thinking ARE life in action.
  • I am convinced Jack Lalanne was right. Through his example – and the example of others I truly respect and admire such as John Wooden, Vin Scully, Chick Hearn, Bob Hope and Nelson Mandela, I have realized that we are truly unlimited in our potential because our minds are unlimited in their potential. It is in remaining committed to our own purpose – and our own health and fitness needs – that we not only survive – but THRIVE.
  • Training mentally, physically and spiritually every day is the only REAL answer to our health challenges – including the obesity crisis.
  • Being conscious – and learning to remain conscious every day – is our responsibility and obligation – if we are to age healthfully. This is now my own belief.
  • The world of modern technologically driven medicine is going to have to “catch up” to the world of wellness but I believe it is possible – if the conversation is established – and maintained – by those who truly care about improving health outcomes in the world of the 21st century. I am committed to being a part of this conversation for the remainder of my life.

Woman and TrainerIn summary

This series has attempted to shine the “light of truth” on a very complex and puzzling challenge – the issue of healthy aging in the 21st century. In a technologically driven world we are constantly being asked to believe in ourselves and yet are given precious little confirmation of the real value of this idea. We are sitting our way to ill health and are being overloaded with information in a world that is increasingly becoming angrier and more frustrated and frightened with each passing day. Where is the hope in this picture?

It is my hope that through changing ourselves FIRST we can ALL become examples of the change we wish to see in the world. This is purpose and hope enough for me. I do not want to argue about my thoughts on this subject – I simply want to share them and let others decide if they are worthy of consideration. It is my own personal goal to continue what I started in my 50s and 60s: to develop and perfect the idea of what it means to me to age healthfully and continue to share what I have learned with others until my life ends. The rest is not in my hands. The world will change – or not.

Take time today to consider your own path in life and remember to be patient and loving toward your ‘self’ – and grateful and forgiving as well. The two cornerstones of my life – gratitude and forgiveness (and of course love) – are always guiding me in my choices for the day. I do not know what tomorrow will bring – I only know that today well lived is its own reward. Sail well!

You can read the previous articles in this series by clicking on the links below:

Healthy aging by the decades: Your youth
Healthy aging by the decades:Your 30s & 40s
Healthy aging by the decades: Your 50s

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

Couple biking

Healthy Aging by the Decades: Your 50s

The primary question being asked in the majority of sessions for retirement planning is what you will need in terms of financial reserves to carry you through your later years. Unfortunately, this is the only model used in America and worldwide today. However, the question that you should really ponder is: “What will you do if your health fails, and how will your retirement life really be if you will no longer be able take care of myself?” An additional issue revolves around the date at which you start taking your social security benefits, but age is just a number! In reality, what if things don’t go according to plan and you don’t even make it to 70?

What healthy aging should be about rsz_healthy

The concept of healthy aging is something that has appealed to me since I realised that at any point in time I was indeed training for the decades to come. When this dawned on me, I had to re-evaluate my own position on what aging healthfully encompasses. I am convinced that money is only part of the dilemma: if we reach our 50s and 60s with little of the health we desire, what are our realistic prospects? I have concluded that financial planning is not enough: it’s essential to be physically, emotionally, spiritually and professionally fit as well. Recently, I told a friend at the gym that I think that if people go by the common definition of retirement, namely “remaining in a state of leisure”, this will lead to an early death because people literally stop “living”.

The answer is to face the reality that we are all going to age and start preparing as carefully as we can NOW. It is much more appealing to get on with the business of training NOW rather than later when it may be too late. This thought reminds me of the oil filter ad that said: “Pay me now or pay me later” – meaning that you can replace your engine later (at a much higher cost) – or the oil filter today. Which choice would you prefer for your body? Train now or knee replacement later?

What I learned from my 50s

The decade of our 50s is when we start to “show our age”. This is the time when all our bad choices and lifestyle habits catch up with us. The truth is that playing catch up with our health is never a good option and if we prepare now rather than later we can be way ahead of the curve.

When I was in my early 50s, I realized my goal of running a combined 3000 plus miles (3675 to be exact in 1998 and 1999). That record stood until looking back on those two years I made the decision to break 4000 miles in a combined two year span so in 2011, at the age of almost 65, I started my “run” to a new two year record and finished 2011 with a total of 1955 miles. 2012 was in my sights now as a potential record breaker, so as I worked hard toward my new goal, I remained positive that I could make it past 2000 miles. I ended up with an all time record of 2145 miles and a grand total of 4150 miles. I was elated and found courage in setting a goal that had pushed me beyond previous boundaries and out of long held comfort zones.

This was possible because of my record keeping discipline over the years and the fact that I decided to break a record that had been set 12 years before. I share this example with you as a way of demonstrating that we are never old until we decide we are – and to illustrate how the succeeding decade can be influenced by something we did in the preceding one. I am planning for my 70s now based upon the foundation I laid in the previous decades of my life. I am approaching this new decade with the same thought and care that went into my 50s and 60s. Now, I feel a strong desire to maintain what I have achieved in terms of fitness, instead of going backwards and lose what I have gained.

Being driven to accomplish something meaningful is important to living a healthy and fit life. I found my work with my clients rewarding in my 50s. I believe I shared with them the best that was truly me. My 50s were a decade of growth for me. Some of my clients encouraged me to write about my training philosophy. They supported me because they believed in me and what I had been doing to serve and guide them to achieving their goals. They were responsive to my coaching and I in turn loved being with them and seeing them grow and evolve mentally and phsically. My view of life expanded greatly during my 50s. I found my stride – and witnessed becoming happier and more fulfilled than I had been in years.

In my 50s, my world was far from being perfect, but it was filled with love and support from those I cared about and served. My daughter and I grew closer during this decade while she was living a life of adventure and success. The foundation for who I wanted to be – and become – in my 50s had been laid in the previous two decades. I am grateful for my 50s because I fulfilled part of the promise I had shown as a child on Maui: I had become a good man with a kind heart and most importantly open minded. I loved learning and exploring again – just as I had done all those years before in Hawaii. This sense of progression and continuation at the same time, gave me a feeling I was being true to myself, which is the only key to happiness and wellbeing.

Some suggestions for your 50s

  • Continue to refine your plan for fitness activities and stick to it. Make changes sparingly and take one step at a time.
  • Be patient and loving toward yourself.
  • Eat well, sleep well, manage your stress levels and meditate (think consciously) every day.
  • Make choices that FEEL right to you. Don’t live for others, but find your own “center”.
  • Be attached to learning about yourself and accepting yourself just as you are – and as you are not.
  • Practice being grateful and have an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness. These two traits will carry you far.
  • Make an effort to reach out for help.
  • Don’t rely on the internet for your answers.
  • Stay current on issues that are of importance to you and be willing to say to yourself “I don’t know but I am willing to learn.” No one is an expert on everything – especially when it comes to life. Don’t hold yourself to that standard. Become an authority on yourself and the rest will take care of itself.
  • Be a student of your own life and an expert on becoming who you want to be – and let the rest go!

I will cover the 60’s and beyond in the final part of this series being fully aware that I have only “scratched the surface” of this examination and exploration of “training for the decades ahead”!

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

running-sunrise

Take Charge of Your Future Health & Fitness Future: Become Relentless

It occurred to me recently that the only true answer to the question of how can we best accomplish our health and fitness goals consistently – and save our own lives – was to “become relentless”. I recognized this trait in myself as a boy on Maui and today I know that it is how I have maintained a high level of fitness over more than six decades of my life. I decided early on to never let myself “get out of shape”. I always wanted to be fit. In making this choice I became committed to my purpose: Never make excuses and treasure the physical gifts I had been given by always training as though today were my last on earth.

This article addresses three key principles to becoming relentless and exercising the control over your choices that only YOU can make. Nothing in life is more important than our health and if we lose it – we may never be able to get it back. We also cannot become fit because our health is a precursor to overall fitness achievement. I understand that we are confronted every day by challenges and that some of the circumstances we face are beyond our control. However, I also DO believe that the power we exercise in making our choices is always within our control. Do you want to live a fulfilling and healthy, happy, and fit life – or not? The choice is yours!

NO EXCUSES!

In my world there are no such things as excuses. We either commit to our own health and fitness future – or we don’t. There is no “in between”. I am asked frequently by people at the gym how many days I work out and my answer is always the same”. I train EVERY day if I am not sick or injured because I never want to “go backwards” and lose all the gains I have made. Every new day presents each of us with the opportunity to train mentally, physically and spiritually. What do you do to plan your day with your health and fitness needs in mind?

Most Americans are eating and sitting their way to an early death by not considering these important needs. It is as though they have turned off their brains and disconnected them from their bodies. I see this behavior every day and this pattern of “thoughtlessness” WILL become chronic if not changed. This “way of thinking” by parents then gets passed down to their children.

I see potentially obese children stuffing their faces with French fries while their parents model behaviors that are truly unhealthy. Technology is a now a major part of how

we interact with one another and this poses additional challenges for a healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge. We are “buried in our devices”!

The KEY here is NEVER MAKE EXCUSES! There is ALWAYS time to exercise your mind, spirit and body. MAKE the time. If you are not sick or injured commit yourself to your own “renewed” purpose: Train every day and NEVER LOOK BACK! Today is all any of us get. Do you want to waste while in making excuses about why you couldn’t take that walk, eat that salad, or meditate for a few moments on what you are grateful for in your life? I hope not. Regret is a terrible burden to carry into your future. Be Relentless!

LIGHT YOUR INNER FIRE!

The only true motivation is “inner inspiration”. I was inspired as a boy through my swimming coach at the time to strive for excellence and to use my talent to its highest potential. He saw me as a potential champion – even at the age of 8 – and I trained accordingly. The “fire was lit” by his belief in me and his encouragement during our training sessions. He gave me the strength to endure the many hours of repetition that it took to become skilled for competition.

I remember the joy I felt when I met with my teammates before practice. We were all friends and were close in age. The training was difficult at times but it gave me the understanding of how to become a better swimmer and maximize my talent. I knew the hard work would pay off and it did when we competed against other teams. I loved the competitive “fire” within me because it gave me purpose and a feeling of accomplishment when the training came together during our races.

This “inner fire” cannot be given to you. It has to be generated from within you. You have to “own it”. We can hire coaches to help us by inspiring and encouraging us but we have to do the work of “lighting the fire” for ourselves. It IS within each of us and this is our POTENTIAL. Don’t short change yourself. We ARE capable of accomplishing great things if we believe in our potential. This is what my swimming coach on Maui gave me when I was just beginning life as a swimmer: The belief in myself that I could become a champion.

I never forgot these lessons or his belief in me. I carried this “fire” within me during the many years that followed all the way up to this – my 71st year. I am capable of so much more today because I believed in myself and knew that every day was a gift that I could use to move myself forward – or I could have let my circumstances let me “slip” into obscurity and mediocrity. I REFUSE to live in mediocrity and I encourage you to not let this thought overwhelm you and stop you from pursuing excellence in your own life. Be relentless!

STAY THE COURSE!

Once you have decided to commit yourself to your health and fitness goals – STAY THE COURSE! Never let excuses or sloppy thinking prevent you from reaching for the “greater within you”. I have suffered badly these last 6-8 months from painful feet (plantar fasciitis) – a debilitating inflammatory condition at the bottom of both my feet characterized by searing pain. “It is often referred to as an “overuse” injury. Fifty three years of running can have this type of effect and it DID catch up to me!

It progressed to swelling in my right calf and ankle brought on by what I suspect was tearing of the soft tissue. I have not been able to run during this time so I substituted the lifecycle for cardio training and as a form of rehab it has served its purpose but I miss running very much. I KNOW that I am improving with the addition of my stretching program and new strength training methods but this time has served as a reminder to me that no matter what we do we are vulnerable to age, injury, and pain.

I have stayed the course with my training but I also know that at 70 I am not going to escape the possibilities of additional injury. I believe in the benefits of training so deeply, however, that I will NOT let anything stop me from my appointed training sessions. My time as a swimmer taught me that every action we take in support of our goals can propel us to becoming more than we ever dreamed possible.

What is your dream and what are you willing to do to fulfill it? I am willing to do what is necessary to see mine come true: Help the world become “more” by focusing all our energy on becoming happy, healthy and FIT! Be relentless!

IN CONCLUSION

Take time TODAY and review your mental. physical and spiritual needs and desires. Make an appointment with yourself that you WILL “show up” each day to work on advancing your health and fitness goals. DECIDE today to never let a moment “slip away” from you that could have moved you closer to becoming the person you were meant to be.

DECIDE TO BECOME RELENTLESS! Don’t make excuses, not the light the fire within you or NOT stay the course that you have set before you. Decide to be EXCELLENCE and pursue that idea every day – regardless of the circumstances or challenges you face. My feet will run again but I am taking the time right now to appreciate all that they have done for me over past 70 years!

Appreciate and be grateful for all that you have been given and start your day in gratitude and forgiveness. These two traits alone are omnipotent. I never will take today for granted because it is all I have. Your journey – and mine as well – has just begun. Cherish every moment and BE RELENTLESS!

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.