Tips for Aging Gracefully and Successfully
Boomer’s–Don’t Let Aging Take You Down
A Continuation From Last Week
As a continuation from last week and my month-long discussion about aging, it’s important to realize this getting older thing we experience as Baby Boomers is unique to each of us. While there are many similar characteristics we might see through our older years, there isn’t anything that suggests there is one-size fits all to this business of aging gracefully and successfully.
“I don’t dwell on my age. It might limit what I can do. As long as I have my mind and health, it’s just a number.”
As with so many issues surrounding one’s health and attitude, there are a myriad of opinions as to how we should approach this incredible time of our life. And that’s exactly how I prefer to frame it—it truly is an opportunity of the ‘ages’ to live our life with the most incredible drive and spirit possible, because we do not know from one day to the next our longevity and what number of functional years we have left in our lifespan.
So how do we look at life and what do we do about it? Because I live with arthritis and several other chronic ailments I could easily adopt a “woe is me” attitude and allow life to slip by with “well, that’s the hand dealt to me.” For me that is the furthest thing from my reality. From my perspective, the glass is always half-full with the prospect of filling it all the way every day. I never view it as half-empty, otherwise I would not make it through the day.
“We are tiny trickles of water carving our own individual paths through the stone, but we are also sometimes the river forging through the canyon. Be independent. Carve your own story. But also help the many other streams to forge through the canyon too—and watch for when the time may come for you to lead the way.”
Michelle Hawk, Editor Wellness Pursuits
Obviously, genetics play a big part in how we age successfully. Trust me I know the story all too well. I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. My mother had it and her mother had it, so it got passed down to me in form and function. It might take me a few minutes in the morning to get my motor started, but once I do, I stay the course and don’t let it get me down.
My BoomerGuy has a cardiac condition which they determined has been placed in the genetics basket from his parents and grandparents. While he is healthy in so many other ways, he is under the watchful eye of his cardiologist to make certain he maintains his treatment course…every single day, day in and day out. For him, there is no other option than to fight the good fight since it’s been 6+ years since his cardiac arrest. He is thriving as the 1%’er that survive this type of heart attack.
Other friends and family members have certain health issues based on their genetic predispositions. Various publications, including the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggest that nearly half of all Americans are living with at least one chronic disease. Unless you are unusually blessed and lucky, most of us will have at least a few ailments, disabilities and disease states that will become part of our lives. The choice is ours how we live life filling the glass every morning or letting it stay half empty without enjoying life to the fullest. You can overcome your health challenges and still be able to experience positive outcomes in life.
“The migrating bird doesn’t think about the miles ahead, she enjoys the sights of today. The task ahead may seem daunting, but each moment brings you closer to your goal. Keep that goal ahead of you, but don’t forget to appreciate the journey along the way. There are roses to smell, wonders to see, and things to do. An intention is but one set moment within a lifetime of living.”
Michelle Hawk, Editor, Wellness Pursuits
The experts will tell us there are several other components to aging successfully. They are: 1) mental sharpness, 2) being physically fit, and 3) interacting with others in a meaningful way. As you will soon see, all three of these are inextricably linked.
MENTAL SHARPNESS. The issue here is not giving up your mental acuity to chance, but rather doing what you can to maintain and improve on what you have.
- Stay active, read more than what’s on your smart phone.
- Listen to meaningful news reports and then try recalling them.
- Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and veggies.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water (I start my day with a very large glass of lemon water and a splash of lime juice).
- Limit your salt intake.
- Pay attention to getting your recommended daily dose of vitamins.
- In your own way, practice mindfulness.
- Banish the drama in your life to help minimize stress.
- Find new hobbies and a sense of purpose.
- Start a business, even if it’s from your home.
PHYSICALLY FIT. We hear about exercise all the time, and quite frankly I’m glad we do because I will tell you even the smallest form of exercise will have a dramatic effect on your body and mind and your ability to age gracefully.
- The fact is without a certain amount of exercise you will experience a decrease in muscle mass and strength, and the lack of both can age you in any ways and make you more vulnerable to certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
- I’m not talking about a full work-out regime at Planet Fitness, but I am talking about a daily routine of walking about (try it with friends or your puppy), stretching either with tai chi or yoga, and perhaps even lifting small dumb bells in your living room.
- Pilates has a number of low-impact devices and exercise routines with bands to help you maintain your muscle tone and give you added strength.
- How about a dance class.
- Gardening is a great form of exercise, and it’s fun also.
- Wear sunglasses to reduce vision loss due to diseases such as macular degeneration, so you can see more of life.
- Be social with other people—getting active with others will be beneficial for both your body and your well-being.
INTERACTING WITH OTHERS. We are social creatures and interacting with others is an essential part of aging successfully.
- Find people with like-minded interests. You don’t need to join every community project, but you do need to share thoughts and ideas with others in a meaningful way.
- Read a good book or news article, then share your insights.
- Talk about your fitness plan and the positive impact it has had on your aging.
- I just recently purchased a magazine outlining the benefits of the keto diet. If the diet is based on scientific evidence, then I will participate. I love talking about it with friends, family and others and helping them form their own perceptions and opinions on what they can take-away from the various menus.
- A lot of my friends are into health and wellness…like-minded people.
- Join a volunteer organization, a reading club, Facebook can even work—it sharpens your grammar skills and allows you to share your inspiration–share but also learn.
This is certainly not the all to end all discussion on aging successfully. But I do believe if we can practice just a few of these ideas every week, and add new ones to the following weeks, we will achieve a more graceful aging experience. I have found this to be true and that’s why I like sharing my thoughts of inspiration and mindfulness.
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”
The last topic is to get good quality sleep. This will be the discussion in the final chapter of Aging Successfully, due out next week, so stay tuned.
Disclaimer. I am not a physician nor healthcare professional. My content is based on my life experiences and that of research I conduct to use as needed. In every instance, I will either quote or reference said research and give credit to the author(s) accordingly.
Editorial sourcing and contribution: Active Beat,
by Chelsea Dolan and Katherine George