Monday, January 22, 2018

Healthy Aging

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Your health at any age is a cumulation of lifestyle factors and genetics. Regardless, each day is a new opportunity to turn back the clock and grow healthier …

Live Like a Rock Star

Popular celebrities don’t stay in the spotlight without continuously reinventing themselves. Think of someone like Madonna, fan or not she has managed to transform and stay relevant over decades. Actors need to experiment with new roles, some that take them off the screen and onto Broadway. It’s essential for a healthy, thriving career. You can bet Harrison Ford never says, “Nah, I’m too old for that part.”

The Rest of Us

As we age, we tend to grow stagnant in our activities, diet, and preferences. Things are done a certain way because, “that’s how we always have done them.” Stop with this limited mentality. Better health and wellness starts today. If you spent your 20s partying hard and your 30s hitting the pavement before warm-ups, you’ll have to work a little harder. But, it’s never too late to improve.

Forget Your Age

There are no age limits on learning.

As the Center nurse can attest, our physical body does not always match our age. Upon evaluation, a 55-year-old may show to have the body of a 44-year-old based on heart rate, blood pressure, body mass index, and overall shape. Equally, a 35-year-old can have the body of a 48-year-old who hasn’t worked out since high school football practice. Age is only a number.

Get a physical and be cleared to start living the age you want to be.

Reinvent Yourself

We don’t have Hollywood agents encouraging us to try new roles and start fresh. Do it anyway. Thrive through self-discovery. Here’s how, friends. (Yes, start by assuming everyone is a friend-in-the-making.)

Ditch Your Workout Routine—For a New One

Take the “routine” out of your exercises. Learn a new fitness program. Who needs a Hollywood agent when you can have a personal trainer. Let him/her help you reignite a passion for working out by demonstrating new exercises, equipment uses, and methods. Take advantage of the Center’s variety. Maybe you’ve always wanted to swim or learn yoga. Reinvent the fitness warrior within!

Become an Athlete

Be athletic at any age.

Although something like tackle football may have an age window, it’s never too late to become an athlete. Consider learning tennis, golf, shooting hoops, training for a 5K, or playing softball. Look at Julia Hawkins, the 101-year old cyclist who recently began competitive running in the Senior Olympic Games! Redefine your “prime.”

Some Center trainers specialize in sport performance or competitive events. Learn from them.

Develop a New Hobby

Brain workout.

Preserve cognitive functioning by challenging your mind. Learning new skills promotes synapse growth in the brain. Doing puzzles, playing an instrument, joining a sports team, crafting—these things keep the mind sharp. Continuously challenge your brain through variety. Even little change-ups, like putting on your shoes in a different order, has proven helpful.

Reduce Health Risks

Age, in itself, does not have to signal bad knees, an aching back, heart issues, or diabetes. How we live is the best predictor of future health. Research continues to debunk age-related excuses for poor health. We have learned you can avoid diabetes, escape osteoporosis, manage a healthy weight, and ease arthritis. Many health issues attributed to age are actually a result of poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

What are your risks? Which workouts and nutrition plan can help minimize them? You have the power to defy the statistics.

Stay Updated

Instant age makeover. Become a techie.

Feeling left out? Take a computer or cell phone class. Nothing makes you feel savvy like knowing the latest tech. (Bonus: TV commercials will start making sense again.) Watch your popularity increase as you explain social media to peers or send out text messages en masse.

Get Involved

Connections with loved ones, volunteering, and a sense of purpose greatly impact a person’s lifespan. Loneliness can be a sad reality of aging as the world spins at its fast, noisy pace while you are slowing down. Use your acquired wisdom and get yourself out there. For example, if you miss having children around, volunteer at an elementary school. Surround yourself with youth and feel young again. Nurture others and allow yourself to be nurtured.

Today Is the Day

It’s time to try the kale-and-quinoa salad. Learn Pilates. Ride a bike. Own your first pet. Ride a roller coaster. It is never too late to strive for a healthier future. Smile, stand tall, and be a rock star.


 “Over 50? These Problems Can Sneak up on You,” at

Image Credits

Fedora (Indiana Jones) hat:

Puzzle project:

Cell phone:

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