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Friendship is a gift we should treasure like our health

I recently read an article in the Argyle Sun Newspaper about a 101-year-old woman who credits her longevity to her friendships. After I read it I said to my friend Laurie, "I think this woman is right, the secret to living to be 100 is friendship! Just look at Georgie (click here for the article).

I have heard that older people with a strong circle of friends are more likely to live longer. I think this must be true. Have you ever noticed how much information there is about families and marriage but not as much on friendship? Friendship is definitely an undervalued resource. Our friends make our life better. The trick is finding time to foster these relationships.
Friends are protective and nurturing. Think about who walks in Relay for Life? A multitude of supportive friends! Friends can run errands and pick up medicine if you're sick, bring a meal when you've just had a baby, be there through laughter and tears. I think those who have strong friendships are less likely to get sick because they have a lower stress level. A friend is like a free psychiatrist. Friends who have a strong bond know they have someone to turn to, always!

The same day I read about 101-year-old Georgie I went to hear a speaker at the school where I teach talk about how to live to be 100. It was such a coincidence that I was with my dear friend! Dr. Joe had some valuable things to say, but I kept waiting for him to say the secret to living long was love and friendship. That was not on Dr Joe's five factors to living to be 100! He talked about a healthy body, not a happy heart. I know in MY heart we need both!

I was so tickled at my friend who had agreed to come with me. Before hearing Dr. Joe, we attended a PTA meeting. We kept finding humor in random parts of the meeting and we ended up passing notes back and forth like teenagers. When we stood to say the Pledge of Allegiance, I couldn't help but think I already know the secret to a long life: laugh, smile, have fun, enjoy each other while we are here! We can't always be worrying about not exercising enough or eating the right things. That's not what life is about! Even if we don't make it to 100, why not just live large now and keep laughing with our friends.

My husband says, "I know how to live to be 100...have lots of sex!" Well, I think he's probably right about that. I know my schedule may become more challenging after he reads that I agree with him. We've all heard how sex increases how long we live. The reason is the body needs intimacy and bonding. There is such value in touch! Think about animals and babies...they need touch to develop. I tend to cup my hands around my children's faces when I'm talking to them. I know I have their full attention and they know they have mine. More importantly, I do it because I want them to feel my love.

I can't help but think of another Joe, Joseph Pilates. He believed our physical and mental health is intertwined. He was so right! Pilates lived to be 87. I LOVE that Joseph Pilates lived his life well and made not only his body, but also his heart happy too. His exercises can help you find peace, reduce stress, and be present throughout your life. But, if you really get to know Joe, you will fall in love with his way of living too. He was a man who loved his wife, smoked cigars, participated in winter swimming, and being the German he was; drank his beer from a stein in his studio! I just love that!

I think a regimented, determined person who makes a daily effort to stay in shape and includes friendship and love as a hobby can easily live to be 100. Friendship is a gift we should treasure like our health. But think deeper than just the superficial; the core of our hearts must be nourished as well.
In the quest for better health, people can turn to doctors, spirituality, self-help books or herbal supplements. But they sometimes overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, aide a speedy recovery, slow aging and prolong life; their friends. There is balance with everything! When you find yours, you'll know it!

Prost to friends! Prost to our hearts! Prost to laughter! Prost to Pilates! Prost to our life now!

Dr. Joe's 5 factors to live to be 100
Control the quality of the air we breathe: Air is the number one nutrient for nutrition.
Water: Water regenerates tissue, water restores our health
Food: We need carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals.... And eat raw food!
Exercise: Delivery System of Nutrition. Exercise forces movement without movement we die quickly.
Nutritional supplements (Dr. Joe Guarnera)

*Prost: German for cheers

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