On 16th October 2011 Fauja Singh has set another record by becoming the oldest marathon runner at the age of 100. He ran the Toronto Marathon in 8 hours 25 minutes, ahead of five other runners.
Living in Ilford, London but originally from the Punjab, he took up running seriously at the age of 89 following the death of his wife. His training consists of running 10 miles each day, which to me sounds impressive. Looking at him, you can't help but notice he's in good shape and as far as his diet is concerned, it consists of Ginger Curry and lots of tea. I'm sure there are other things but that sounds a good starting point.
When asked about his extraordinary achievement he said "the secret to a long and healthy life is to be stress-free. Be grateful for everything you have, stay away from people who are negative, stay smiling and keep running".
I think we can all take a leaf out of his book, so to speak. Although I can only say this anecdotally, I believe having a positive attitude towards health, life and general direction does have a bearing on our health. Of course we cannot prevent illness and disease completely by having a positive outlook, that is a fact of life. In periods in my life when I have had less general happiness, I think I have been prone to colds, bugs etc. Likewise I nowadays resist these things through being positive, keeping fit, sleeping and eating well. Dealing with problems in a proactive way helps, much better than pretending they'll go away if they're ignored for long enough.
We can help ourselves by having a "half full" outlook and taking care of ourselves. Having a good measure of self belief and determination is important too. For myself these things work and I often find myself focusing on the positives - like the fantastic outcomes and sense of achievement along with the need to rise above all of life's challenges. Sounds a bit like a self-talk module in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which I still remember from a training course many years ago. Having the belief of "I can do this...." really helps.
Fauja Singh adds that he avoids negative people and I think there is something to be said for this. Do you find that some people's disposition can be infectious in some way? I think so but I think it's a skill in managing this which is important and goes beyond simply avoiding such people. But who am I to say this? Fauja Singh has just run a marathon at 100 and I'm about half his age: we should all congratulate him. Perhaps we should go further and allow his routine and approach to be a challenge for ourselves?