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Keep Your Body and Mind Healthy As You Age - A New Year's resolution

It’s a new year and we all know that we can feel both internal and external pressure to follow some new year’s resolutions. Well, this year, resolve to stay healthy and feel your best regardless of your age! Staying healthy and feeling your best is certain of importance no matter your age, and as we grow older we experience all sorts of life change like drawing closer to retirement, contemplating children leaving home and the loss of loved ones. How each of us handles these changes and learn to grow from them is one of the keys to staying healthy. I recently resolved to begin eating healthier and get back on a fitness regimen. I could complain about the aches and pains I have from former surgeries or the busy schedule that I have each day, but I refuse to fall back on excuses. I have had to rely on a formula that works for me, formally scheduling healthy “events”. Certainly each person is different, and who knows you better than yourself, right? I know that I live each day by my calendar, so if I just planned to “try” to get in some more exercise or “try” to find healthier eating options, this would work some days but miss on many others. I have to add it to the calendar in order to make sure it happens!

So….find and follow your own formula for staying healthy as you age. And start on it today!

Coping with change is difficult for absolutely anyone, no matter what your age. We face difficult times in some of our aging transitions. Losing parents, friends and loved ones is really hard. Leaving a job that defined who you are is quite tough too. Older adults have no choice but to deal with a large number of changes that seem to accelerate as we age. Add to this declining health and/or independence and you can imagine the difficulties. So you have to begin to find methods to balance the negative changes with positive ones that will help to regain some balance.

Healthy aging means really finding methods and ways to continually reinvent yourself as you grow older and to find new things to enjoy and new ways to feel better about yourself.

So, at my current age, and at this time in my life, eating healthy and being more active is key for me. I know that even though it will be difficult some days, in the end the positive reinforcement will be a game changer! I also know the importance of keeping your mind sharp too.

In a recent issue of Harvard Health, they discussed the importance of finding simple ways to keep your mind sharp. We have all heard of “senior moments”. Well cognitive decline is a serious issue, but these “senior moments” are not necessarily a sign that your mind is slipping away. Several strategies for keeping your mind sharp include; 1) Keep Learning – why not take up a new hobby, take a formal class, or just volunteer somewhere new and learn the ropes! 2) Use all Your Senses – the more senses involved the more easily your brain can retain information. 3) Prioritize Your Brain Use – use calendars, maps and lists to assist your brain. Designate places for glasses, keys etc. so you know where to find them. 4) Believe in Yourself – joking about those “senior moments” too much can mislead us into believing we have problems. Stay positive. 5) Repeat What You Want to Know – Repeat important things you want to remember out loud and also write them down if you can. This, too, assists our brain in remembering. 6) Space It Out – Repetition is a great tool for remembering, but you can’t “cram for an exam: like you did back in high school. Space out periods of study and brain work. It will help things set more easily!

So, as you age look for ways to stay healthy of mind and body. This means finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and family. Don’t let aging bring too much fear and anxiety.

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