Friday, May 27, 2011

Tucson as Western Fountain of Youth: How Desert Heat and Sun Keeps us Sexy, Young

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Tucsons desert heat and sun does wonders for saguaro, too.

With another birthday barreling around the bend, it’s only natural that I spent the past week doing what many folks do around birthday time: staring in the mirror looking for wrinkles.

Despite people warning me that if I moved to Tucson, within a matter of weeks, I’d look like an old leather shoe, I am still glad to say I have not seen any wrinkles.

It might help that my bathroom mirror is surrounded by 40-watt light bulbs. Or it could be that Tucson is a miraculous oasis for retaining youth and beauty. I prefer to believe the latter, which also explains why so many retirees flock here.

Tucson is the Western Fountain of Youth.

The weather is largely to thank, as Tucson’s sunshine puts people in a better mood than the gray skies of Saskatchewan or the grimy smog of Los Angeles. When you’re in a good mood, things are rosy, and a positive outlook can actually increase your lifespan.

Although Good Housekeeping says a positive outlook prolonging your life works best if you start the positive thinking when you’re very young, there’s no harm in crotchety old people attempting to improve their mood, outlook and lifespan, too.

The sun also comes with dry, pizza-oven heat, another way Tucson keeps us young. The blazing heat is enough to make most of us skitter indoors, where we remain all summer. Spending several months of the year in a climate-controlled environment can extend our lives, provided we invest at least $70 in a really cool humidifier and have some type of air purification system to extract the pollen, dust and dog hairs from the air.

Exercise is another factor that works to keep us young and beautiful, as well as slim and trim. Tucson’s parching heat is not necessarily conducive to running 10 miles through the desert—although swimming laps in a pool is refreshing—but the hot climate makes us exercise for another reason: Hot weather means fewer clothes. Fewer clothes mean fewer places to hide our fat. Enter a rigorous exercise program.

Tucson’s overall laid-back attitude is another factor that keeps us young and healthy. It’s a known fact that stress can kill. It’s another known fact that the slow-motion attitude of the West is the opposite of the high-energy rat race we find in the East. Someone once told me it was because of energy flow.

Places like New York, for example, are crammed with tall buildings smashed closely together, creating a rapid vertical energy not unlike those dangerous peaks on a heart monitor readout. Tucson, on the other hand, features wide-open, sprawling desert spaces, letting energy sashay in a smooth and easy flow.

Although that same type of easy-flowing energy resembles a heart monitor readout when we’re dead, it also makes for some serene and peaceful living—living that keeps us looking young, sexy, slim, trim and free of wrinkles for yet another birthday.

Ryn Gargulinski, aka Rynski, is a writer, artist, performer and poet. Her radio show airs every Wednesday and her column appears every Friday. See more writing and art from RYNdustries at and


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