William Shatner's Secrets to Healthy Aging
Education and Advocacy William Shatner hasn’t slowed down his life or his career — even at age 87.
He has a hit television show Better Late Than Never, a new book, and tour later this year. He keeps busy with a variety of business and philanthropic ventures.
“I am as busy as I’ve ever been and I’m keeping up with it,” Shatner says from Los Angeles. But he’s always conscious about the potential effects on his health. “It’s expected that as you get older you’ll decline.” But he adds that it’s not necessary that mental health decline quite as sharply as physical health. “You can take [care] of yourself.”
What’s Shatner’s biggest piece of advice for living a healthy lifestyle at any age? “Keep active, because your brain is affected by the rest of your body,” he says.
One way Shatner likes to keep active is by bicycling with family members. He says they use electric bicycles which require less pedalling power. “Although our brain doesn’t necessarily fail as you get older, our muscles get weaker. It would have been a challenge — actually an impossibility — to keep up with the younger members of my family bicycling.”
Shatner says that creativity goes a long way in the pursuit of physical and mental health. “By using just a little imagination you can compensate for some of the things that are going to happen when you get older.” It’s also important to for the TV star to spend time with others. “I know that good, healthy aging comes from not being solitary or brooding.”
Give something back
Shatner has a new book called Live Long And...: What I Learned Along the Way and he notes the message is about the importance of keeping busy. “Say yes to life, yes to dinner, yes to going out, and yes to something new, because time is too short to lose one opportunity to sacrifice another,“ he says. Shatner also notes the importance of challenging yourself. He likes to do so through charity work, choosing causes that are close to his heart.
Unlike some celebrities, Shatner doesn’t focus on one type of cause, it’s all about whichever ones resonate with him. “Everybody, everything needs help,” Shatner says. “There are very few self-sufficient needs.” This point of view supports Shatner’s overall life philosophy which is one of understanding. “We all see reality through various filters that can be interpreted in a large range,” he says. “While my version of love may be quite different from your version of love, we cannot advise any different person to think or see the same reality.”
Shatner credits his ability to stay vibrant to his involvment with his community through volunteering and advocacy work — in and around North America.
“Whether it’s salmon in British Columbia, the seals in the St. Lawrence, children who are affected by disabilities, or veterans coming back from the wars — everybody needs help, so I do the best I can,” he says. “There’s nothing better for your brain than trying to help someone else.”