How To Live A 100 Years: The Master’s Secrets (1)

Warning: Reading this article may add years to your life.  Please don’t make the mistake of reading if you are not prepared to due the extra time.  Turn away now at your own peril.  And for those people whom wish a longer embrace of this physical world, I invite to read on.  Come, my friends, lets “rage rage against the dying of the light.”  Keep in mind that I’m not the “master,” but instead the messenger.  Once I reach 90, you guys can start calling me that. 😛

Part One:  Build a habit of movement, any movement… and lots of it.

Ba Gua Master Lu ZijianThere exists a man (the man pictured to the left, and in the above video) who was born in 1893 (which makes him 114 years old today) named Lu Zijian.  In the video that we have of him, he is 93 and moves as if he were in his twenties.  He is a clear example of the tremendous yields that movement produces.  Exercise also produces the most prompt returns, even if you start “late in the game.”  Studies from Tufts University have shown that men sixty to seventy years old can improve their muscular strength by 100 to 200 percent after only twelve weeks of training.  Lu Zijian’s training of choice is a martial discipline known as Youshen Baquazhang (the practice in the video).  He was also well-skilled in Wudang Longmen Pai (which incorporated special  Taoist practice known as Fire Dragon Qigong).  Regarding his health, Master Lu said once:

The key to a long and healthy life is a combination of movement and stillness- cultivating life by guiding the qi, the vital energy of the body, and moving the hands and feet through the practice of Chinese boxing.

Aging comes to us all… unless we chose to correct it?

Getting sick and deteriorating physically seem like a ghastly mistake, and I’ve always hoped someone would come along to correct it.   -Deepak Chopra, M.D., Perfect Health

The Scientific Aspect:  The science behind this physical degradation pertains to the part of the cell known as the mitochondria.  The mitochondria produced the energy for the cells in the form of a molecule known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate).  From the age of 40 onward, there is a steady decline in the mitochondrial DNA and thus, a decrease in ATP production (which means, less energy & less movement- and leads to less muscle and more weight) [National Institute of Aging].   The scientific perspective is (in my opinion) realistic, but much too depressing and flawed to believe completely.  The “Master’s Secrets” are hidden away… not all in books, but in the lives of the masters themselves.  Not-so-surprisingly, ALL of the ones I have researched had a plan… a method.. a system of movement.  Not one that they did once and then tried again later… not one that they did only on days that they felt like it… but every day of their life.

The Best Exercise:  The best exercise that you can do is an exercise that you enjoy doing (there are some obvious exceptions, but you get the point. i.e. rugby-in-the-dark).  No-one is going to continue to workout if they associate pain to it… nor are they going to continually to participate in something that is not enjoyable, bores them to tears or yields no results*.  It is this last point that must be emphasized when it comes down health and well-being.  What many people fail to understand is that the ideal method requires a combination of mind AND body.  It is also very important that you come away from exercise with more energy than you entered into it with  (might I get some questions on this one, I wonder?). 

I look at health and wellness from an Eastern point of view for two reasons: one, it’s the method that I’ve used and seen results from for the past 15 years, and two… if you look at the worldly view of health, you will come to find that many of these “near-100 and 100 and overs” come from Asia.  Practices such as Yoga, Taijiquan and Qigong are among the greatest exercises in the world because they unite the the physical, mental and the spiritual body into one system. 

But like I said earlier… if you try one of these health systems (for a good month, at least) and you don’t enjoy it… move on to something else.  Swimming, walking, cycling can be just as beneficial.  An important note however, is to participate with an attitude of openness and not with an intention that is focused on quick results.  Maybe one day “the lazy lot” will get their wish… complete health in pill-form… but for now, let’s build on what we know, and that is movement is key!

* results will always come as long as you trainly safetly and diligently. there IS such a thing as “unseen results”.  results are results whether we are aware of them or not.


~ by chencenter on March 13, 2008.

18 Responses to “How To Live A 100 Years: The Master’s Secrets (1)”

  1. This is fantastic! Thank you, Michael Ironically, Tai Chi is the only activity I have ever stuck to for more than a month or so. I think because it engages my brain so deeply, I get tremendous benefit and will never stop – it is my medicine. Seeing this amazing man just reinforces that I am doing the right thing. Thank you!

  2. Excellent post! This is true, the only secret of the masters is daily training.

  3. I use to do Tai Chi as well and LOVED IT but stopped due to financial reasons. I think I need to re-embrace it and maybe I’ll buy some DVD’s so that I can keep up the practice from a less expensive stand point.

    I have also seen great peace and energy from walking meditation that Thich Nhat Hanh teaches.

    Thanks for the information and encouragement!!

  4. Yes! Yes! Yes! THANK YOU, JB. Nothing annoys me more than a 25-year-old complaining of back pain, or a 45-year-old attributing his/her memory loss to “old age,” other than a Carolina fan celebrating a victory at Duke. (Sorry, I am still bitter about that one!) Back on task… I try to emphasis to my students that while aging is inevitable, it can be slowed. Much of aging is NOT due to the gradual process of aging (Primary aging) but to disuse, disease, or neglect of the body (“Secondary” aging). Note here, when we look at the leading causes of death in America, they are the effects of “secondary” aging!!! As you emphasized, the mind/body connection can never be underestimated, and it is essential that we exercise both (Can I add spirit too?) As you well know, movement doesn’t just keep up strong and limber, but actually releases chemicals that make us feel better and gives us more energy! It is a proven treatment for depression!!! “Motion leads to emotion”- T. Robbins

    p.s. You still think you’ll be drinking the Dew when you’re 100? 🙂

  5. “rugby-in-the-dark”

    Way to single out my sport of choice.

  6. Andrei- Great to see you on here buddy!

    James- Taiji is wonderful and need-not be expensive. You seem like a guy that could get into some hardcore qigong training. If cost is an issue, you can learn quite well from one of Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming’s books.

    Jenny- Yes. Hopefully I’ll be down to only a shot-glass-o’-dew a day. ya know…just to appaise the taste buds. 🙂 BTW- great addition to my blog (i.e. “Primary aging and secondary aging”). Live with passion buddy!

    Totaltransformation- you’ve got a killer blog! And congrats on the weightloss. Saw the pictures and were quite impressed. Besides rugby, how did you get the weight off?

  7. “how did you get the weight off?”

    Quite simply: (1) Eating healthier and more often throughout the day, (2) drinking more water, and (3) living a more active lifestyle (i.e. weight training twice a week and cardio 2-3 times per week). Oh, and snapping plenty of photos to keep myself honest.

  8. i really like this post!

    isn’t it amazing that with some exercise, eating healthy and finding a spiritual balance can do wonders?

    who would have guessed? 🙂

    haha, i like the “warning” hahaha:)

    it is amazing that guy is 114 and still can do that.

    i had a next door neighbor, named Lily, when i was little (maybe when i was 6?) and she was 104, and she had the most beautiful flowers and garden in the world. she was outside everyday, taking care of her garden and mowing the lawn with a push mower and she always gave us veggies and flowers:)

    and she never had any problems, she passed away from old age, simply.

    i want to be like her:)

  9. these are very good tips indeed and i am going to try to utilize them in my life. wonderful site you have here…thanks for inviting me!

  10. What I like best about this post is the simplicity of it.

    You also back up your points with good scientific data.

    Yes, the key is to back away from your television or computer and get outside and do something!

    I prefer full court basketball, swimming laps, and lifting weights.

  11. Great post brother! I agree that the scientific, secular (whatever you want to call it) is far too simplistic and mechanical. As we age, the body can degrade if not used, just like anything else. My personal view is admittedly different but the root of health.

    Look at nature. Wild animals are active through walking, running, hunting, etc. throughout the day. Contrast this to the majority of humans in the United States who are overweight or obese…doing as little physical activity as required. If one were to take an honest investigation, humans are animals too. Looking back thousands of years we would see humans in the wild, running, hunting, walking, etc. throughout the day just like other animals. This constant physical activity is what the body is designed for. Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and such are examples of how the body begins to break down if not worked as well as eating the wrong foods (which is another piece of the pie also).

    If you continue this peak back thousands of years ago, we would also see humans grazing on vegetation, whole grains in their natural forms, and meats which required skill and therefore would not be the cornerstone of the diet. All of which are now being advocated instead of the high-fat, processed foods humans now consume which also lend to the myriad of health problems our society faces.

    Even though early humans did not have hard scientific data to look at, they knew to exercise regularly and eat natural foods. It seems that even though we have science to back it up, early humans did what we all should do. Exercise, eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meat.

  12. It’s all about the motion. Going to get busy on the next installment tonight folks! Look out for it! It shall hold the KEY for living.

    It’s called breathing. But no, seriously… you all should check it out soon. If you are reading this post after April 15th… search for it. PEACE AND LOVE.



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