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Like many of you, Alan Carpenter was living a good life. But that almost ended on June 16, 2013 when he suffered a life-threatening accident. In spite of the pain and ensuing incapacitation, the accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise. While recuperating from his injuries, Alan realized that he had taken his life for granted—especially his health and well-being. To learn how to rejuvenate his health and well-being, he spent more than six years combing the scientific and medical literature. He synthesized what he found into nine simple, evidence-based, practical healthy lifestyle choices. His newly published book, Choose Better, Live Better, presents the scientific case that making healthy lifestyle choices can rejuvenate your life.
Alan urges you to embrace these healthy lifestyle choices and incorporate them into your daily life. When you do, you’ll enjoy greater life energy, you’ll have a wider network of support relationships, and you’ll live with purpose—among many other desirable outcomes. Plus, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of debilitating chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Alan uses his knowledge and life experiences to help people increase their Quality of Lifespan. In other words, helping others live better and longer. To that end, Alan offers keynotes, breakout sessions, and trainings to bring his critically important message to the world.
Alan is also a veteran long-distance hiker and cyclist. Since embarking on his first long-distance hike at age 62, he’s logged 17,300 miles of long-distance adventures. They include hiking the John Muir Trail (twice), the Colorado Trail (twice), the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and half of the Continental Divide Trail. He also bicycled the cross-country Pacific Coast, Southern Tier, and Northern Tier Routes. Alan attributes his continued ability to complete these physically and mentally demanding trips to the healthy choices he’s incorporated into his daily life.
On Key Healthy Choices
“What I call cultivate social connections, until maybe about 20 years ago, the medical community was pretty much clueless about this, but it’s a huge deal. And the evidence is really solid on this. In fact, there are people that think this is the biggest deal of all, what I call social connection. And then under the category of the spirit, I would say the big one is to cultivate a positive mental attitude in that umbrella. I see three key items and they would be optimism, gratitude, and forgiveness. And just think about that for a minute. Wouldn’t you rather be around people who are positive, upbeat can-do, and grateful for what they have in life? And are willing to forgive themselves and other people for boo-boos in their lives? Of course, life would be so much more wonderful if everybody lived that way.”
On Finding Purpose
“I think for many people, it’s some event in their life that really turns their life upside down for a while. For me, it was almost getting killed while I was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and coming home. And just coming to terms with that, that was a big deal. And I talked to other people who have had these really just traumatic injuries and illnesses. And it’s the same story over and over. When these folks get home from the hospital, they’re down and out. And finally, they realize I’m going to find the good in my situation. And then I’m going to do something. And psychologists have developed a term for this. They call it post-traumatic growth. Yes. I’m not making this up. So I think, uh, for those of us that have had some really profound life experience that can really lead to developing a sense of purpose, but I suspect for other people too, that it can be more mundane activities that for some reason, turn the switch enough that they say, You know, I really want to do this because that’s really important to me. I’m going to take action. I’m going to figure it out and I’m going to do it.”
For More on Alan Carpenter, PhD
Choose Better, Live Better: Nine Healthy Choices that Nurture Body, Mind, and Spirit
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