Thousands of books have been written telling us what to eat, how to exercise, and even where to live and work so that we can live longer. But recent research done by the International Council on Active Aging resulted in 10 basic tips that impact living a long, vital life.
Think Positively. Strive for many small successes in your endeavors. Stay away from negative thoughts, especially about your age. Thinking positively about getting older can add as much as 7.5 years to your life.
Turn Your Spark Into a Flame. If you have a passion, talent or hobby, nurture it. Grow it. And let that enthusiasm spill over into other areas of your life.
Keep Your Motor Running. Have goals and stay focused on them. Maintaining a high energy level is important. If you find that you are feeling lethargic it could be something physical or mental so see a doctor.
Eat a Balanced Diet. OK you knew this one was coming. Eating with common sense and keeping weight down are critical. Forget the fad diets. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Cut back on sugar. You can do it!
Connect With People. Maintain an active social life. Go out with friends for coffee or a movie. Even better- volunteer. Research has shown that people who volunteer have higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction than people who don’t.
Don’t Stay Down. Everyone gets down at times, but if depression lasts more than 2 weeks it’s recommended that you see a doctor. But, as mentioned before, people who eat right, exercise, volunteer, and stay connected seem to bounce back sooner than those who don’t.
Exercise. Staying physically active fuels the body and the mind. It helps delay physical decline. Be realistic. Be consistent. Exercising with friends provides both connectivity and the physical exercise. Walking, group classes, tennis or anything that is done with a group of friends will help motivate you.
Keep Learning. Lifelong learning adds a dimension to life, whether just staying in touch with what is happening in the world or keeping the brain stimulated. Regardless of fitness levels anyone can start learning new things at any age. So why not start today?
Invest in YOU. Shift your expectations to yourself- then embark on new behaviors to realize your goals. This takes energy and effort, but consider it as an investment that will pay big dividends.
Have Fun. People who live long generally have a life that is filled with joy and laughter. So figure out what you need to do to have a good time. Ride a bike. Learn a new language. Take up Zumba or square dancing.
You may have to step out of your comfort zone, but 2015 could be the best year of your life.
by Rich Synnott, Upper Valley Aquatic Center Executive Director