TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH
Physical health is critical to active aging. It’s never too late to start leading a healthy lifestyle. If you are overweight, make a determined effort to lose a few kilograms by following a healthy diet – go easy on the fats, processed foods and starch, eat more fresh fruit and veggies and drink plenty of water.
Keep moving – brisk walks, gentle strolls, slow jogs, cycling, swimming, dancing – as long as you are on the move, you’ll feel better and your health will benefit.
Go for regular medical check-ups, take your medication on time as prescribed by the doctor and behave responsibly, especially if you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Human beings are not meant to be alone – we are social in nature. Make an effort to interact with more people. Don’t be afraid to admit you are lonely – it’s not a character flaw. Loneliness often comes with old age, especially if you have lost a friend or life partner. Try to find people with similar interests by joining a community group or club. This can be difficult if you are naturally shy, but you can start off by visiting a few places and talking to the people in charge. This will ensure you see at least one familiar face when you turn up for your first meeting.
Invite people into your life … share your experiences openly with others.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Often older people express a need for spiritual upliftment as they negotiate the challenges of aging. Here are five ways to achieve this:
- Gratitude – being grateful for what we have, what we do and who we are.
- Generosity – giving back and helping others makes us feel happier and more content.
- Reframing – aging includes its share of losses and sorrows, but it’s how we deal with these that makes all the difference. Every negative experience presents opportunities to learn or to take a new path.
- Curiosity – we are never too old to learn new things … about nature, about how things work, about ourselves. Being curious is what keeps us young at heart.
- Flexibility – things change all the time for everyone. It’s important not to get too stuck in our ways.
- Above all, remember to laugh. When we laugh our bodies release endorphins into the blood stream, which makes us feel better. Laughing also lowers blood pressure and increases oxygen intake, which is linked to a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Author: Merle Atherstone