A guide to growing older

owidp ENOn September 23, 2015 David van Bodegom and former Leyden Academy director Rudi Westendorp launched A Guide to Growing Older – Let Your Environment Do the Work. This book is the accessible result of years of scientific research undertaken by Leyden Academy and scientific colleagues from the Netherlands and abroad. The basic idea is that the environment plays a key role in the ageing process. The book is a follow-up to Growing Older Without Feeling Old (2014) from Rudi Westendorp that is now translated into six languages.

A Guide to Growing Older provides a recipe on how to grow old and remain healthy, not from sheer will alone but through smart adaptations to one’s daily surroundings; at home, school, at work and on the road. In recent decades, the Dutch have gained more weight, are the ‘couch potatoes’ of Europe and suffer from an array of lifestyle illnesses that are predominantly treated with prescription drugs. According to the authors, this is a result of a fatal combination of our modern, excessive and leisurely lifestyle, coupled with our primitive roots that dictate we exercise as little as possible in order to save energy and to eat more than we actually need. We cannot easily change our genes but we can change our unhealthy environment and unconsciously make healthier choices. It can be as simple as:

  • Alternate sitting with standing. This way you can annually burn as many calories as running ten marathons.
  • Use smaller plates and you will eat smaller portions and feel equally satisfied. What you eat is less important than how much you eat.
  • Place your  vegetables and fruit in the fridge at eye level and your snacks out of sight. Veggies should be eaten, not saved.
  • Lower the room temperature. Turn down the thermostat a degree or two and you will burn more calories to keep your body warm.
  • Remove your telephone and TV from the bedroom. These appliances can ruin your sex life, while blue light upsets your sleep rhythm.

For more information, please contact David van Bodegom.