I had a birthday on May 28. I turned, um, 58!
Shit that’s old. Or so I thought until I saw this amazing TV show about people in their 90s and how they live with vitality. It was so inspiring. Throughout the show, these amazing people were asked what kept them young. Here’s some of the answers they gave:
Have fun. Go bungee jumping, rock climbing, backpacking, skiing, dancing – whatever makes you happy. Act like you feel, and you’ll feel youthful.
In the show, there was a woman who began running marathons age 67, and still runs at age 93. A man in his 90s goes skydiving on a regular basis. Boo-ya!
For me, ballroom dancing (look out Arthur Murray!) in-line skating and bicycling on the beach are things I love. (And of course shopping.) I plan to work all of those activities into my life on a regular basis.
Be optimistic. Take time to understand what you want out of life. Find purpose and meaning. Then spread the joy to others. Every one of the people interviewed had found ways to contribute to their communities. It gave them a reason to wake up and get out of bed every day.
For me, animals bring me joy. I adopted a sweet Maltese named Zoey who was found wandering the streets of Downey, so black with dirt no one could figure out what type of dog she was. She was cleaned, up given medical attention, and I adopted her. Since then, she’s become my best friend, is pure white and has doubled her weight.
I really want to step up my commitment to helping animals. I’m looking for a no-kill shelter I can volunteer at on the weekends. The Santa Monica Shelter is a favorite of mine, perhaps they need help.
Take up yoga. They say yoga is a great stretching exercise and enhances flexibility. Flexibility gives you better balance, so you don’t fall – which avoids fractures.
There was a 94 year old featured who is a yoga teacher. That woman’s body was so fluid and beautiful, and gracefully went into yoga positions I wouldn’t dream of getting into. But now I feel there’s hope for me to at least comfortably touch my toes.
The yoga that I practice, Naam, (in Santa Monica) is much more than that. In a nutshell, it keeps you young from the inside-out, and actually can heal you. I have been practicing this form of yoga on and off for several years. I vow to keep the “on” button engaged more often.
Get plenty of aerobic exercise (like walking). It builds strong bones. Decreases depression. It also reduces heart disease risk. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.
Since I adopted Zoey, I walk half an hour in the morning, and a half-hour at night. Getting a dog really helps you get some fresh air and exercise. You can be any age or fitness level and do this.
Get lots of sleep. Maybe you got along with four hours a night when you were 40, but your body can’t take that abuse when you’re older. I have trained myself, just recently, to go to bed at 10 p.m. and get up at 6 a.m.
I feel significantly more vitality when I have enough rest.
Set aside quiet time every morning. Meditate, pray, visualize your day. Read something that inspires you. Focus on self-renewal.
I have been doing this for many years. It’s kept me from worrying too much, and has truly transformed my daily life. The trick is to do it every day. I do it as soon as I get up.
Last but not least, get an annual checkup. You need blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and thyroid tested.
Also, talk to your doctor about any symptoms of depression, which can be common for women over 50. These include: persistent sadness or pessimism, feelings of worthlessness, loss of hope, difficult concentrating, anxiety, and insomnia.
There are more people suffering from depression that we know. I once did. It’s totally debilitating. I knew to get help. I’m better now.