Successful Aging

A recent article from Marketwatch talks about the concept of “successful aging” and what that looks like.  We all know those who age gracefully and look much younger than their birthdate indicates. However, is that the result of genetics or purposeful steps they took along their life’s journey?  The article suggests that we need to be doing all that we can today to stack the odds in our favor later in life.  As I look around me at those who are 10-15 years older than myself and getting ready to retire, it doesn’t take much looking to realize that the likelihood that some of them will experience “successful aging” is pretty slim.  They are overweight, inactive, and in many cases, already experiencing major health issues.  Most will tell you that they plan to change when they get some free time.  However, I would say that by waiting until their mid-60’s to begin to incorporate healthy routines into their lives, they may have already done irreversible damage.

Although it is difficult to incorporate healthy habits into your life when you are busy and being pulled in a thousand directions by work, family and other commitments, it is essential that you begin today.  The best motivation is to have an accountability partner, preferably someone who will go through it with you and not allow you to quit.

What can you do to improve the chances that your “aging” will be more successful?

  • Get regular checkups with your doctor
  • Eat more meals at home, rather than out at restaurants.  Your budget and your body will thank you later.
  • Begin an exercise regime.  Start slow so that you don’t get overwhelmed or injured.  Find a workout buddy to make it more fun.
  • I recently heard that an ideal activity for adults is dancing.  Why, do you ask?   Dancing engages both your body and your brain and forces them to continue to work together and learn.
  • Be in community with others.  Life is meant to be shared.

It is said that it takes 21 occurrences to form a new habit.  Therefore, you need to be patient with yourself and stick with it, even if you don’t see immediate results.  Remember, you are not only changing today’s reality, but hopefully increasing the odds that you will have a long and healthier life.