When you see Madhukar Talwalkar’s strapping, athletic physique and hear his strong, clear voice declare, ‘I’ve just completed 87 years of a wonderful life,’ you are absolutely floored. Then you watch him do calisthenics effortlessly and… you’re speechless. He is the founder of the popular gym Talwalkars. This renowned physical culturist walks his talk!
Never too old. “To change oneself is never too early and you’re never too old,” he says. “Please take care today. If you’re young, start today, you’re fortunate. If you are elderly, you’re still fortunate, start today. If you’re old, you’re still more fortunate, you’re wiser, start today,” he urges. “Just give years to fitness.” He exclaims, “what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength his body is capable of! Today, I’m in the best of health. My body has never complained about anything, my knees have never troubled me, my lower back has never troubled me. My heart is at its best. I’m a man of abundance!”
He signs off with an inspirational and spirited, “Love your body! Take care of every centimetre of your body! Take care of your health, exercise, food, sleep and your mind…Then nothing can trouble you.”
Fifty going on 25! For sure, these are exciting times. Things are changing faster than our pulse rate can cope. But don’t let that daunt you. As the gritty ditty goes:
Don’t let anyone steal your spirit,
Let it soar and fly on high.
Don’t let anyone slow your progress
As you stretch and touch the sky.
Dr Amir Hadanny from Israel’s Medical Centre tells us that while lifestyle improvements and exercise do help, the oxygen treatment they are working on is even more effective. Dr Hadanny and Dr Shai Efrati of the Tel Aviv University have found that administering oxygen at high pressure in a chamber for three months elongates telomeres (when they shorten, we age) in the body and actually makes cells 25 years younger. Put in numbers — a 50-year-old being able to gambol as a 25-year-old — it sounds marvellous, doesn’t it?
Light in dim eyes: Even more heartening is the great promise David Sinclair, professor of genetics at the Harvard Medical School, brings to the health table. Based on his team’s Milestone anti-ageing treatment, Sinclair and his team have restored eyesight in mice. “I’m excited about being able to rejuvenate tissues that fail due to ageing and disease, especially where there are no effective treatments, such as dementia… We hope to treat glaucoma in human patients in two years,” he says.
What exactly did they do? To cut a long story short, they injected OSK — a mix of three “youth-storing” proteins — into the retinal ganglion cells of mice which had optic nerve deterioration and the nerves re-grew “back towards the brain”: old cells transformed into young lively cells and dimmed eyes saw the light brightening their world.
What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength his body is capable of!
Andrew Huberman is not involved directly with Sinclair’s research but has been observing it keenly. A neuroscientist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, he writes in Nature, “For decades it was argued that understanding normal neural developmental processes would one day lead to the tools to repair the aged or damaged brain… (this) work makes it clear: that era has now arrived.”
It takes me back to another era…when I found myself in a world I’d never seen before — a world blanketed in the silence of the snow in the valley of Kashmir. I disappeared into its white, vast land and when I returned to my senses, the silence inside stayed and… it sang! And it took my breath away. Youth and health are elixirs of the spirit, surging with the promise and power of unknown forces. Now, 50 years later, I feel that same sense of spirited hope, of a night cracking its shell and day breaking its gold over our horizon.
In his book The power of your mind, Dr Joseph Murphy writes about a gentleman coming up to him after his talk and saying, ‘I am 84 years of age. I operate every morning, visit patients in the afternoon, and I write for medical and other scientific journals in the evening.’ Dr Murphy observes, “His attitude was that he was as useful as he believed himself to be and as young as his thoughts. He said to me, ‘A person is as strong as he thinks he is, and as valuable as he thinks he is. If I should pass on tomorrow, I will find myself helping and curing people in the next dimension, not with a surgeon’s scalpel, but with mental and spiritual surgery.’ And Dr Murphy concludes, “This surgeon has not surrendered to advancing years. He knows that he is immortal.”
Breath of immortality: Are we already on the threshold of the next dimension the surgeon is talking about? Is the next dimension right here on earth? Are we not going to die? For genetic engineer Jose Luis Cordeiro and mathematician at the Cambridge University David Wood have written The Death of Death, their scientific take on immortality. They expect ageing to be reversed and death to be optional by 2045. “Humans will only die in accidents, never of natural causes or illness,” they say.
Within 10 years, all these anti-ageing, anti-dying treatments to cost as much as the latest smartphone!
With nanotechnology, they hope to “print” in 3D the required body organs. It won’t be just about transplanting new organs, but also replacing unhealthy genes with healthy genes, dead cells with living ones, repairing damaged cells, using stem cells and so on. Within 10 years, cancer will be curable and so will other diseases, they state. And if we wonder if all this will be terrifically expensive, designed only for the super rich, Cordeiro and Wood have an answer even to that. Initially, it would be expensive, but with a competitive market, the price would gradually decrease because the demand would increase and benefit everyone. The two engineers expect all these anti-ageing, anti-dying treatments to cost as much as the latest smartphone!
The fact is: all kinds of buttons are being pushed in our smartminds as science rolls out earth-shaking cures and solutions, even immortality. Will our finer human sensitivities die in this technological advance or will it be more refined versions of ourselves? And yet, I can’t help but feel that our ancient yogis did find such miraculous cures in the herbs and purified air of the Himalayas. Will our myths of immortality dance with the truths of tomorrow? Meanwhile, OSK, the youth protein cocktail prances in our laboratories, a disease-free life awaits us around the corner and right in front of our eyes, we see the new becoming the norm. It’s like stepping into a time-tweaked programme. Weird, but wonderful.
The writers are authors of Fitness for Life and Simply Spiritual – You Are Naturally Divine and teachers of the Fitness for Life programme.