When I ‘get older,’ I hope to be half as healthy as Ron and Fran. My last few visits with them consisted of VERY brisk walks, watching them swim across a lake (that I politely passed on), attending impromptu social gatherings, and picking wild blueberries to bake desserts. They technically are only semi-retired (in their 70s!), but have a flexible schedule that allows them to drive across the country in their RV, take missionary trips to India, and spend time with their family and friends. My dad always says that I hit the jackpot with my ‘in-laws’ and he is definitely right—they live generously, fully, lovingly and prioritize their health and wellness (so they can do so many things).
DEFINING HEALTH: What does being healthy mean to you?
Loving life. Being healthy means enjoying life! It is being able to do the things you want to do and have always done—without constant pain or sickness. Good health gives you the ability to be active and do the things you enjoy.
Body + Soul + Spirit. You need to take care of your entire self, including all the areas of your life—physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual.
CHALLENGES: What challenges do you face at this stage in your life in prioritizing your health and wellness?
Making adaptations. Realizing you can’t do everything that you could when you were younger; and trying not to do too much in one day. You might need to alter how you exercise or cut back on some physical activities.
Fighting for your health. There are so many forces that want to throw your life off balance and you have to be willing to put up a fight. Be wary as culture can guide you down the wrong path with unhealthy recommendations. It’s not like when you’re 20 and you can do anything, eat anything and feel alright the next day. Invest in your health.
The unknown. Dealing with health conditions is another thing that you didn’t have to think about when you were younger. It would have been nice for previous generations to tell us what to expect. There is a season where you realize that you’re going to get older—I used to think that 35 was getting old as it was only halfway to 70, but I’m past that now.
Savvy nutrition. Weight management can be more difficult as you get older. You have to make sure you’re getting the right nutrients and eating pure foods that strengthen your immune system. Unfortunately many of our foods have been adulterated by GMOs and pesticides and require you to really watch and be mindful of what you eat.
SUCCESSES: What have you found to work or be successful in living healthy or achieving your wellness goals?
Balancing priorities. Have a balance between taking care of yourself and reaching out to others. It’s important to be social, but also to have some time to yourself. Putting God first gives you direction and allows you to live fully and unselfishly (as serving is an essential part of mental health).
Self-care. Getting massages is a great way to take care of your body as your muscles get stiffer when you get older. It’s also important to eat healthy and stay physically active, but not drive yourself into the ground.
Social interactions. Don’t become isolated! Make sure to invest in relationships that encourage you to live healthy and give you sound advice. Having a good friend or mentor that you can talk to and share life with keeps you on track.
Healthy hobbies. Working, traveling, biking, hiking, learning new skills and keeping up with technology keep you sharp and young at heart. Have a project or hobby that you enjoy. It’s also important to invest in younger generations. (Side note: If there is someone with ‘experience’ that you admire, reach out and learn from them!)
PRIORITIZING: How do you find time to make health a priority?
Stay motivated. You DO have the time when you’re retired. Your time is your own and you’re able to do what you want. It’s more about not becoming lazy and making yourself stay active. It helps to have partners to go walking with—both human and canine. Make social arrangements with others to live healthy (like going on bike rides or walks together).
Create daily habits. Make staying healthy part of your daily routine. Instead of driving somewhere close by, hop on your bike. Or park your car far away from the store or where you’re going so you have to walk further. Once you start creating and practicing good habits in all areas of your health, it becomes easier to stay healthy.
RECOMMENDATIONS: What advice do you have for someone in your life stage to live a healthier, fuller, more abundant life?
Lifestyle: Keep going! A lot of people just quit and want to sit down—keep running the race! Stick with a healthy lifestyle and know that God wants the best for you (including a healthy life). If you put Him first, everything else will fall into place.
Oh, and look up from your cell phone once in a while (especially when you’re walking down the street). Don’t rely on it for everything. Start figuring things out in your head and doing more thinking.
Mindfulness: Stay open to doing something a different way. Don’t get locked into your habits. So many people say ‘I’m not going to change’ and pay the price with an outcome that also doesn’t change. Just because you’ve done something ‘that way all your life,’ doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing it that way. And don’t dwell on negative or discouraging thoughts.
Stretching yourself keeps you growing and learning from others. Be open to finding someone who is a few steps ahead of you in their health and challenge yourself. And be curious. Keep learning and using your brain by taking an interest in things (especially when you’re able to apply what you learn). Read, watch DIY videos, play games, and stay current with technology.
Fitness: You have to make it happen. Find activities that you enjoy and that get your body moving. I used to go to the gym, but found it boring. Do what fits into your lifestyle and that you can do consistently.
Nutrition: Watch what you eat and drink! Think about if what you’re eating is good or bad for your body. Will it make your cells function well or clog them up? Will it be beneficial or harmful for your immune system? Will it keep your brain healthy? Stay away from cigarettes and too much junk food! We have found the Neolife vitamins and milkshakes to give us the nutrients that we need to feel our best.
Clean Living: Toxins (that can be found in makeup, detergents, nail polish, garden pesticides, environmental toxins, etc.) go into our bodies, and can damage our immune systems. Purchase cleaning products without harmful chemicals and additives. Our bodies are polluted by toxins that can come out through our skin and negatively affect our health.
Beauty: Taking care of our skin is more than just what products you use. You need to address your internal system (what you consume) as well. Be diligent in using non-toxic skin care products, makeup and even nail polish. My eyes used to get red and itchy from wearing mascara. We use and have had success with the Neolife skin care regimen (and their other beauty and household products).
Rest: Take naps and siestas as needed! If you know you’re going to have a late night, take a nap ahead of time. If you lose a lot of sleep, you can get sick and will be tired all day. If you aren’t able to fall asleep, having a warm cup of milk with nutmeg and honey is a great treat!