Monday, April 26, 2010

Growing Old Gracefully

Today, according to the World Bank, our life expectance is 78.4 years. Conservative experts believe that man is really build to last about 100 years; and that medical advances and more healthful living habits could bring this about within a generation or two. Gulp, panic is setting in as I try to figure out how I’m going to finance that many years, let alone what to do with all that time. The truth is what good is it to add years to life if we do not also add life to years?  In fact, unless people learn to enjoy life and to grow old gracefully, the extra years may be an additional burden. I don’t know about you but I intend my golden years to be joyful as I gracefully age into Centurion status.

The traditional view of aging is generally accompanied by a loss in physical and mental flexibility.  This is noticed in a tendency to become stiff in the joints; a slower comeback after a strenuous trip, or excessive "night life;" in slower healing of wounds, sore muscles, and sprains; in slower recovery of pep after an illness; and in greater difficulty to adjust to new people, new places, and new ideas. Well wasn’t that just a cheery future to look forward to.

Gratefully new studies have brought about new thinking. The conclusion now is that the performance and ability of the elderly has long been underestimated and can be greatly improved by a proper diet, sleep and exercise along with rest and relaxation. Many elderly people tend to lose their joy and will to live and chronic worriers may mope around and withdraw.  Medical authorities now say that laughter is one of the best medicines for the elderly.  You can always keep your sense of humor tuned up by surrounding yourself with pleasant and interesting people.  So don't be afraid to laugh at yourself even when no else is around.

Now that we all know the role that physical activity plays in our lives, remember to do something physical every day.  The joints must be used or quite simply they will tighten with age creating that stooped worn out appearance we so often associate with getting old.  Keep yourself flexible and fit on an exercise program consistent with your ability and don’t forget to laugh. As for me, I’ll be hitting Planet Fitness later today and texting Diana to find out the when & where of her next Laughter yoga session.           

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