Lots of living left to do

Aging takes a long time!
It begins when we are born. And, silently, it creeps along through our childhood, teen, and young adult years.
Then suddenly it seems to pick up speed. Or at least our perspective on aging changes.
One case in point. Years ago, one of my favourite nieces couldn’t wait to grow up. In her late teens, she longingly said, “I can’t wait to be completely legal!” (obviously referring to the magic age of 21).
Another case. I remember the eager, almost arrogant, “hippies” of the 1960s and 1970s.
They were going to change the world. They would do better than the generations before them. And their mantra was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30!”
This philosophy worked for a while. With their youthful dedication, they did make a difference.
But then a sad thing happened–they turned 30! And after that, like every generation, they kept aging.
We cannot stop the aging process, nor speed it up, just because we wish it. Minute by minute, hour by hour, relentless time gobbles up our lives.
It’s up to us to make the best of every valuable minute. And we can’t do that without taking care of our health.
September is designated as “Healthy Aging Month,” and this year’s slogan is “Because there’s lots of living left to do.”
As my niece and the hippies discovered, there’s lots of living left to do after 21, after 30, and even after 80!
For wisdom on health and aging, I often refer to WebMD.com. So following my usual pattern, I checked what it had to say about Healthy Aging Month 2013 and found this sage advice:
“No matter what your age, you can stay at your personal best with these nine expert tips.” And here they are:
1). Get moving
Dance, swim, play tennis, walk, or join a water aerobics class. It’s your choice.
Just remember. Regular exercise is very important.
2). Stay social
Enjoy both your primary and your extended family. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
3). Bulk up
Eat healthy–whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, and lots of veggies.
4). Add some spice
For starters, how about ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.
5). Stay balanced
Practice yoga or tai chi. If you have balance issues, consider using a walker.
Whatever you do, don’t fall!
6). Take a hike
Take a brisk walk every day, recommends WebMD. It will bolster your heart, lungs, and mood.
7). Sleep well
Get plenty of sleep at night. Take a nap in the daytime if you need it.
And if you have serious trouble sleeping, don’t delay seeing a sleep specialist.
8). Beat the blues
Do fun things, laugh with your friends, take a “news break” and, if you have serious problems with depression, seek help.
9). Don’t forget your memory
Learn new things, read, play word games, and do crossword puzzles.
So there you have them–nine succinct rules that can help make your aging more healthy.
Follow them! Follow them because “there’s lots of living left to do.”
And you want to be able to do it!
Marie Snider is a syndicated columnist. E-mail her at thisside60@cox.net

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