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The Art of Aging Gracefully

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Ever wonder why some people seem forever youthful, and others seem older than their years? As it turns out, genetics are not the only factor – there are actions you can take and attitudes you can adopt which will help you age gracefully for years to come.

As we age it is important to laugh. Laughing aids circulation, it increases respiration, lowers blood pressure, stimulates digestion, and decreases stress. Statistics show that people who have stress have a shorter life span. It is important to find ways to release the stress we feel as we age. Do not get worked up about things you can’t control. Look at what causes your stress and look for ways to release the stressful feelings. Focus only on the things you can control. The rest will be what it will be. If you can embrace your situation right now you have learned the art of “embracing your circumstances.” By being content with the way things are, you are able to let go of the stress that can shorten your life and gives way to a sense that all is as it should be.

Movement helps to keep you aging gracefully. Activity increases your sense of wellbeing. Doing exercise that increases your heart rate gives your cardiovascular system a boost and keeps your joints moving. I encourage you to find interesting and engaging physical activity that you can do several times a week. Activities that encourage deep breathing help to relax the muscles and increase the sense of wellbeing. As we age our breathing may get shallower. Your body needs good air exchange to optimize immunity and increase its ability to heal. I am encouraged to breathe in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth as I encounter the exercise classes around Sierra View Homes.

Getting some sun helps to boost the vitamin D in your body, which helps the body absorb calcium, and improves the immune system. If you can’t get into the sunshine taking vitamin D tablets works well too. Vitamin D increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts your mood. It is important to remember that if you are planning to be out in the sun for a long period of time it is important to wear sunscreen. Lack of protection can lead to sun damaged skin or even skin cancer.

Sleep is one of the most important components of aging gracefully. Sleep refreshes not only your body but it gives you a boost emotionally. Sleeping at least seven hours a night should be your goal.

Exercising your brain helps to ward off memory loss. Learning something new, doing crossword puzzles, or some other game that requires thought or memorization helps to keep your mind young.

Take a look at what you eat. A diet that has a lot of fruits and vegetables gives your body the nutrition it needs to ward off diseases. By filling your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables you will eat an array of antioxidants and phytochemicals that promote healthy aging by boosting your immune system.
Drinking water makes the skin look more refreshed, youthful, and hydrated. Most people do not drink enough water.
Food rich in Omega-3 have been shown to make a difference in reducing the risk of memory loss as you age.

Norine Lambdin, a resident at Sierra View Homes Terraces, explains that her philosophy for aging gracefully focuses on the positive. Her faith in God teaches her not to dwell in the past but to rejoice in the present, “You cannot change what has been. Forgive the wrongs of your past and embrace today.” Norine enjoys meeting new people and looks to surround herself with positive people who enjoy laughing and are encouraging to others. Hiking in the Sierras each week with a group of friends is a highlight of her week and she encourages others at Sierra View Homes to be active and involved in the activities offered on and off the campus.

Doing a little bit each day gives you the ability to age more gracefully as time goes by. Living a long and healthy life full of laughter, good food, and plenty of social and physical activity is my wish for you.

About the author

Ro Linscheid

Ro Linscheid is the Associate Executive Director and Admissions and Marketing Director for Sierra View Homes Retirement Community. You can contact her at (559) 638-9226 or rlinscheid@sierraview.org.