The opportunity to lead productive, healthy and satisfying lives is the focus of National Senior Health & Fitness Day
celebrated on May 25. Over 100,000 seniors in 1,000 locations will celebrate the 18th annual event, the largest annual event promoting fitness for seniors.
But who would guess that the rules for successful aging are the same rules that lead to happy and healthy lives for children and adults? Should we be surprised? Perhaps not—the results of a 10-year MacArthur Foundation study on successful aging
confirm our intuitive knowledge.
Whether you are 14, 40 or fourscore and 10, you can help celebrate National Senior Health & Fitness Day by observing these 10 tips for successful living:
1. Use It or Lose It
If you want the ability to do something, you must do it. Whatever your age, challenge yourself physically, mentally and socially to be at your best.
2. Keep Moving
Physical activity is the closest thing to a fountain of youth. Our right and left feet are the two best doctors in the world. For optimum fitness, combine strength training, endurance, flexibility and balance in your exercise regimen.
3. Challenge Your Mind
To grow new connections throughout our lives—- as children and as seniors—- we need to learn, unlearn and relearn.
4. Stay Connected
Maintaining a network of friends and being part of a community is the key ingredient to an experience of daily happiness.
5. Lower the Risks
By getting regular physicals and being proactive about our health, we can lower our risk for genetic, environmental and lifestyle-related medical problems. We must manage our health from youth through old age.
6. Eat for the Long Haul
Avoid skipping meals. Keep your energy high. By the way, Mom was right: eating your fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated and taking vitamins help maintain a happy life.
7. Enjoy Yourself
Following your heart will keep you dynamic, creative and full of zest for living.
8. Wherever You Are, Be There
Don’t let your chattering mind take you from this singular, not-to-be-repeated moment and experience the pure joy of life. Find pursuits such as listening to music, viewing art, writing or enjoying nature to keep your mind in here-and-now moments.
9. Keep Children in Your Life and Keep Your Inner Child Alive
Children bring wonder, renewal and a sense of optimism to our lives. Whatever your age, you can be young at heart.
Laughter stimulates the immune system, protects us from disease and definitely makes the journey more fun.
None of us can roll back the hands of time. But if we put on our walking shoes and follow these rules, we can ignore the number on the calendar. By keeping ourselves fit and healthy today, we can look forward to celebrating the gift of life on many future birthdays.
- Carole Carson
Photo courtesy of Herman Brinkman