By Cathy Black, Texas Health Presbyterian, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine
Healthy aging is about much more than staying physically healthy—it’s also about staying emotionally healthy and maintaining your sense of purpose and zest for life.
While the specific ingredients of aging well are different for everyone, the basic recipe involves finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones.
Staying physically active
- Did you know that by age 75 only one in two women and one in three men get any physical activity at all? You may think that as you age exercise is less important, but just the opposite is true. And it’s rarely too late to begin or resume exercise. Even people in their 90s can increase their strength by as much as 40% through regular exercise.
- The loss of strength, loss of endurance, and loss of balance that keep many older adults housebound may not only be prevented, but even reversed. Some of the problems that can be prevented or improved by regular exercise include arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stress.
Staying mentally and socially active
- Staying socially connected has been shown to keep your mind and body active well into old age. In fact, the benefits of social connectedness are just as important as the benefits of staying physically fit.
- Socially active older adults who keep in contact with friends and relatives and participate in group activities are less likely to decline mentally, physically, and emotionally as they age. One of the best things you can do to age well is to volunteer to help others. Having a sense of purpose keeps life moving forward.
- Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise if you want to live to be 100. According to research done by the National Institute on Aging, symptoms of mental decline, such as loss of memory, are not necessarily a normal part of aging. Your brain is like a muscle that needs regular exercise to remain healthy.
Even though you may be retired or considered a senior, there’s no excuse not to remain active. Texas Health Presbyterian – WNJ offers a fun and exciting way to keep both physically and mentally active through Senior Passport, a program designed for seniors age 55-plus. Just ask Senior Passport members David and Bette Carroll. “Our doctor has told us more than once that we are his healthiest patients,” says Bette. “And we attribute it to the Passport program. Senior Passport has kept us physically and socially active, improved our balance and muscle tone and in addition, we’ve made some wonderful friends!”
Senior Passport provides health screenings, exercise programs, travel opportunities, social events, and more! To learn how you can join Senior Passport, call 903-870-3630.