Column: Benefits of boundaries


Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

During the past several months, we’ve established boundaries to protect ourselves and others. While doing this we may have felt resentful and discouraged. But not all boundaries are for protection. Some are set in our minds regarding relationships, both with family and friends.

Another area for boundaries is how we treat our bodies: The foods we choose for our nourishment, the lack of medical care when we know better and whether we get the exercise that will keep us healthy.

Longevity science is a new field that explores the possibility of slowing or reversing the aging process. The real beneficiaries of this science are people born after 1997 who may live 20 years longer than the current lifespan. Some of the evidence-based options include changes in diet to eat less red meat, which reduces all types of possible inflammation, and eating more beans and legumes, which not only benefits our health but also our budgets.

Strength training and vigorous exercise provide life-extending benefits. Finally, social engagement is integral to longevity. Living alone for older adults may shorten their lives if they are cut off from others and don’t get out often.

As we are evaluating our boundaries for this year, we would find it beneficial to think seriously about our longevity boundaries. If we truly want to live longer lives with good mental and physical health, then we need to make it a priority to take care of ourselves. It’s an inside job that requires our personal attention.