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Tips to stay healthy, happy as you age
Health advice
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“Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It’s more often a succession of jerks.”        
— Jean Rhys

I am now officially an older ­— or aging — American. But then again, everyone is aging, so that’s nothing to get bent out of shape about.  Besides, if you’re not aging, you’re dead. Right?
Although there are many things about aging that I don’t like, there are actually a few things I’m OK with. I like the experiences life has provided — many were lessons on human nature while others gave me more objectivity about life and people in particular.
I really love being a grandparent! Just thinking about my five “grands” puts a smile on my face and brightens my disposition in seconds. I regret that my father isn’t around to offer his perspective on their personalities as it would surely be comical and outrageous. Oh, how we would laugh!
This brings me to anther important issue — mental exercise, which is good for everyone, but especially for those of us who are “over the hill.”
We should be thankful and keep our minds on the positive things in our pasts, presents and futures. Remaining grateful is a quick and powerful way to change your circumstances.
Mary J. Lore, author of the award-winning book “Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World?” said, “Being thankful raises us to a new level of consciousness, giving us the ability to see possibilities, discover what we truly want, receive ideas on what to do next, and realize a vision for the future.”
During today’s difficult times, many people find themselves struggling with thoughts of anxiety, depression and despair. These thoughts do not inspire you nor do they move you in a direction that serves your purpose. In fact, they make matters worse. Being thankful changes one’s whole perspective.

“Some reckon their age by years, Some measure their life by art;
But some tell their days by the flow of their tears
And their lives by the moans of their hearts.”

         — Abram Joseph Ryan

Seek out variety and new challenges in your daily life. As people grow older, it is important to stay motivated. For many, depression can be a terrible enemy, but new activities, friends, hobbies and exercise can be wonderful antidepressants.
Stay active doing things that use memory, like playing cards or chess, taking piano lessons, joining a dance class or writing letters and e-mails.

“Old age is no place for sissies.”    
— Bette Davis

Regular exercise is more important for seniors than other age groups since the risk of disease and lost mobility is greater and the positive effects are realized more quickly. Choose an exercise that you like and stick with it. Engage in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and weight-bearing exercise every day.

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”  
— Lucille Ball

To ensure we are giving our body the best nutrition, we should eat a wide variety of nutritious foods including vegetables, legumes and fruits. Also, try to incorporate cereals, wholegrain bread, rice, pasta, lean meat, fish and poultry into your menus. Drink plenty of water.

Ratcliffe is a consultant to the Coastal Health District. You can call her at 876-6399.
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