What is Vitality? How to Maintain Vitality As You Age

Aging offers a change of hormonal seasons

Vitality defined is a state of active energy –– an enthusiasm and power to be fully present in your life’s relationships and environment. In general, vitality comes to us most naturally when we are in specific peaks of our lives: childhood (active growth), puberty (functional maturity), and our twenties (active fertility). Our hormones are surging and dynamic, our bodies are young and healthy, and we’re the most equipped to jump into life with vigor and joy.

Setting aside exceptions for a minute, the majority of people equate youth with vitality. As long as we’re healthy and live in a healthy family system, some ordinary transformations will occur. No one is the same in form and function before and after puberty. Those fertile and virile twenties are likely to result in procreation. And, what ages you faster than family and responsibility?

Then life progresses, and all of a sudden, we find ourselves having a birthday that sounds old. We’re not as spritely as we once were. Our bodies have changed, our minds have expanded, and a new generation is shinning with that youthful vitality. We don’t feel like we used to. Maybe we feel tired, slow, and dull.

Where does that leave us?

Consider the four seasons of nature. Spring and Summer are glorious, aren’t they? There’s so much vibrant energy –– vitality –– in burgeoning blossoms, cross-pollinating birds and bees, and verdant, abundant summer. But autumn is more than pumpkin spice and warm sweaters: it’s golden, dynamic, and vibrant. The end of your Summer is likewise not an end to your vitality. It’s merely a shift in the seasons of your life.

How to restore your vitality as you age:

Breath Work Pranayama is breathing with awareness and intent. Used during meditation and yoga, intentional breathwork could be the key to vital health. In his book, Breath, author James Nestor takes an in-depth look into how breath could explain a long list of health-robbing maladies, from autoimmune disease to sleep apnea.

Get Enough Rest Quality rest is another key element to live a vital life. After all, how can you have active energy if you aren’t adequately restoring it? As we age, our sleep patterns shift as reliably as our skin sags and our patience thins! If you’re getting enough hours in the bed but still feeling tired all the time, it’s worth your time to troubleshoot the cause.

Do Less Returning to the nature metaphor for aging, autumn, and summer are different in many ways. One of these differences is productivity. An endeavor to “do less” isn’t lazy –– it’s saying no to overwork, over-extending yourself, and chronic busyness. Embrace the rhythm of autumn through active-rest: read, walk, nap, and take time for long conversations.

Nourish Your Body Food is energy. So, it stands to reason that if you’re feeling depleted, the culprit could be your diet. Ayurveda uses food to restore health, identifying your personal dosha, or constitution, and which foods serve or aggravate your overall health and vitality.

Get Outside Prana is the life force within all things; another word for breath. A quick way to restore your own vitality is to surround yourself with others’ vital life force:

○ Healthy, joyful, and active people

○ Trees, dirt, and water

○ Young children and animals –– both natively burst with abundant energy!

A shift in your seasons is as beautiful as it is in the natural world, of which you are apart. As mother nature makes adjustments for cyclical change, so much you. As a result, you’ll feel younger, healthier, and more vital overall for the effort. And, you might even discover that Autumn is your most vital season yet!

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