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We often hear people say that age is just a number. Technically, they are right, but sometimes those little aches and pains that snuck up on us leave us asking ourselves if it’s really true. We start to notice a wrinkle here and there and those grey hairs seem to pop up overnight, and suddenly we feel “old”. Society tells us that we are at our prime in our youth and for many of us, we start to believe that. However, think about all of the things you know now that you didn’t before. Think of all of the experiences you have had, the lives you have touched and the things you have accomplished. Perhaps we are more like that fine wine after all. We only get better with time.
September is recognized as Healthy Aging Month. This gives us the platform to talk about aging in a positive light, to discuss ways to stay youthful, and to allow ourselves to embrace our age and own who we are at whatever age.
Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. We should always be challenging ourselves to learn new things. This keeps our brain active and young. As we age, it is important to continue to setting new goals and milestones. If you haven’t created your bucket-list or you have already checked off all of the adventures you had on one you created years ago, it’s time to make a new list! Find ways for you to stay involved with your community, take that trip you never had time for, find a local greenway and go for regular walks either on your own as a time to reflect on your day or make it an opportunity to catch up with friends. We should always be challenging ourselves to learn new things. This keeps our brain active and young.
Many women begin to struggle with their appearance as they age. Our environment focuses so much on our physical attributes that we begin to devalue what that small wrinkle in the corner of your eye actually represents. Every crease, every wrinkle and even every age spot is merely proof of the life we have lived. A life full of laughter, maybe some sorrow and our struggles mixed in, but ultimately it shows us all of the things we have worked so hard to accomplish in life and the things we had the courage to get through. The good news is, there is so much more fun and joy to be had!
Now is not the time to throw in the towel or cash in your chips. It’s time to take care of your body! When we say to watch what you eat, we aren’t saying you need to restrict yourself from the delicious options that we all adore. Here is where you can have your cake and eat it, too! Watching what you eat simply means making sure that you have a good balance between quality nutrition and some of those sweet treats. Be sure you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, remember five-a-day, and are eating lean protein in your diet for muscle and bone health. Your mother’s famous pound cake is okay too, just limit yourself to an indulgence every now and then and maybe not every morning for breakfast…and dinner.
It’s not news to anyone that physical activity is important to our overall health, but research is proving that these activities can promote healthy aging, help ward off physical and cognitive decline and illnesses, and add years to our lives. Find a new class to take at a local gym. Take a bike ride. Start a morning walking group. Join a pool for exercise that has less impact on your joints. You can even take up weightlifting! You are never too young to start something new.
Often as we age, we are becoming very aware of what we have accomplished in our lives and maybe what we did not. Take the time to make a difference in your community. Make an impact by volunteering at your favorite charity. These can be the most rewarding experiences we have in our lifetime. Challenge yourself to step outside of your safety zone and do something that will change a life. In the end, it might be your own life that you were changing all along.
With each and every day we are getting older. That’s just how life works. There is nothing to fear about age. Grow with each experience and embrace who you are and who you will become. There are so many adventures left to be had so make sure you are ready to take them all. Commit to your own healthy aging and define your next challenge today.