Healthy Aging for Everyone

By Dr. Marion Somers, Ph. D., Dr. Marion

Healthy Aging for Everyone

I've worked with thousands of people with difficult physical limitations, but some of them have had the most glorious spirits and outlook on life. Anyone who has a physical limitation may have to work harder to age well, but he or she must not let their spirit wane or look at themselves as a victim.

You know your own body and what it needs. Having membership to a health club isn't what gets you healthy - you actually have to do the exercise. Whether you do an exercise regime on your own or follow a DVD or TV workout program, it's crucial that you move the body on a regular basis to stay energized and firm and alive.

Before you start, consult your primary physician for a baseline assessment of what your ideal level of physical activity should be.

Another hint: keep it enjoyable or you won't stick with it for very long. The activity must be something that becomes a fun part of your daily routine, whether you walk or bike or practice yoga or tai chi. I also recommend getting a small dose of sunshine every day, and to get adequate sleep every night.

Another proactive healthy aging tactic is to eat right and hydrate - and that takes planning and effort. Make a list of what you like and what's good for you and then buy it. Make sure fresh fruits and vegetables and protein are in your home at all times, and don't let unhealthy food even enter the front door (you know what foods I'm talking about!).

To age successfully, it helps to stay closely connected to family, friends, and some sort of spiritual life. Finding a place to volunteer your time and expertise also helps. I encourage pursuit of anything that makes you feel like you're part of your community and the universe at large. And remember to look for the fun in all of your activities. Keep your mind open to positive experiences and they will unfold in your life.

Finally, it's important to settle old grudges and hurts. Wipe your emotional slate clean every day before you go to bed. Sometimes this requires an email, or a phone call, or just coming to terms with the conflict in your own mind. Be grateful for being alive so that you can live life to the fullest.

©2007 Elder Health Resources of America, Inc.


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