Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Indianapolis

Healthy Aging
It’s Up to You!

Although we don’t have control over our genetic make up, it is a proven fact that we will live a fuller, healthier life if we pay attention to the life style choices we make. We are in charge! Approaching aging in a holistic manner has significant benefits and can help us avoid many diseases.

A holistic approach includes understanding how intrinsically connected our body, mind and spirit are to one another and being aware of how to get the most out of life and living. We do this by the choices we make - what we eat and drink, how frequently we exercise, physically and mentally, and what we do to nurture our inner spirit.
For instance, physical exercise has so many benefits: you look better since you increase your metabolism which helps muscle tone and overall fitness; you feel better since exercise releases endorphins; and you lower your risk for a variety of diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity and even depression.

New research from England's University of Essex finds that just five minutes of outdoor exercise can boost your mood and self esteem. That’s amazing.

There are four main types of exercise
and seniors need some of each:

Endurance activities will make it easier for you to:

Flexibility, or stretching, exercises make it possible for you to:

Strength training can maintain your ability to:

Balance exercises can help you:

Source: National Institute on Aging


But there is even more benefit - there is substantial evidence to show that exercise and physical activity can positively affect brain function. This includes our memory, thinking, planning and ability to switch tasks, etc. Learning new things is another way that can help create new brain paths and improve our overall well being. Yes, exercise is one way to connect the body, mind and spirit. Unfortunately, according to recent statistics about 85% of older people fail to exercise on a regular basis.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so decide to make changes toward healthy aging. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to reap the benefit. Go for a brisk walk and be aware of the beauty of the season. Gratitude and appreciation for what you have vs. what you don’t is great fuel for the spirit. Do what you like to do like dance, even if it’s alone at home with no one looking, pull weeds in your garden if you have one or pick the flowers and enjoy them. A way to exercise your brain is take a different route home, do crossword puzzles, risk a little and meet some new people or go to a book club.

So, be sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise your mind and body and nurture your spirit. Remember that the ability to learn and adjust continues throughout life and is strongly influenced by interests, activities, and motivation. With years of rich experience and reflection, we can build on the good things that are happening to us. Despite physical limitations, growing older can be a wonderful time full of variety, creativity, and fulfillment.

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