Aging Well

Read some tips for finding inspiration to help keep motivation. Find out about the Everybody Walk PA program at the end of the article.
Aging Well - News

Updated: May 12, 2018

Aging Well

Photo by Author. Goal met at top of Mount Whitney 2014

Is 50 the new 40? Or is it 60 is the new 30? Let’s just say that aging isn’t what it used to be! I was looking at some old family photos and found a picture from my parents wedding in 1959. As I looked at my “elderly” aunts in the photo, and did some quick math, I realized they were all still in their 30’s!! By today’s standards they looked like they were in their 60’s! We now have people in their 70’s and 80’s that look like and do what a 40 or 50 year old does, or maybe even younger. And why not?! We all want to make the most of the time we have, and being able to do what we enjoy for as long as we can, is a wonderful thing.

Here are some great examples of what can be accomplished in later years.

  • In October, 2017, at 82 years old, Dale Sanders (trail name Grey Beard) became the oldest person to thru-hike the Application Trail.
  • In 2015, at 92 years and 93 days, Harriette Thompson finished a marathon, in 7:24:36, breaking the record for oldest woman to run a marathon in the USA, and at age 94, she became the oldest woman to run a half marathon. She took up marathon running at age 76. She died in the fall of 2017.
  • The oldest marathon runner in the world is 104-year-old Fauja Singh (UK). He also broke a marathon record for his age group at 89, and took up extreme long distance running at age 94.
  • French cyclist Robert Marchand set a new record aged 105 and cycled more than 14 miles in one hour.
  • Kimani Maruge enrolled in the first grade at 84 years old!!

Talk about inspiring!! Many people will still say “What’s the point in working to stay healthy, everyone is going to die anyway.” And of course that’s true. But think of all the fun you can have along the way.

No matter your goal or the accomplishment that may or may not happen, no matter how big or small it seems, working toward something has a way of keeping us naturally motivated and excited. This becomes even more important as we get older. So as we try to stay “motivated” keep some of these tips in mind.

When it comes to health and wellness where do you start? Start with where you see yourself in the future. What are you doing? How do you feel? What is happening in your life that you’re excited about? Once you have that in mind, remember any change in life starts with a choice and a commitment to move in that direction. It can be as simple as adding a serving of veggies to a meal or having family time once a week with electronics off. It all depends on what works for you. Getting started sometimes means just thinking about changing behaviors. You may spend a few days, weeks, or months “thinking” about making changes without ever taking the first step. And then one day, you do something; take a little action. Ever so small, and maybe a start and stop approach at first, but it’s moving a little bit. And it’s a start.

Now that you’ve gotten started, you need to get smarter. Gaining knowledge is an important aspect of anything you do in life. This is recognized as it relates to school, work, and even hobbies. But it is also true for overall wellness. Not only do you need to build that knowledge base – but also keep that information front and center on a regular basis to help stay motivated and on track. What do you have in your life to remind you of your goal and what you want to do? Do you read about it, watch inspirational people who have done or are working toward the same thing? How can you bring more of this into your day to keep you motivated?

Most people can list very easily the benefits of increasing their physical activity level, such as reduced stress and fatigue and increased mental alertness. It improves cardiovascular functioning and strengthens bones. Combined with healthy eating, it can help to reduce or maintain body weight and decrease incidence of certain chronic diseases. Some people are very good at making sure they regularly exercise. For most however, their reality falls short of their goal. This is where building in some external motivation and structure can come in handy. Enter Everybody Walk PA! We will be taking a virtual walk for the fifth year. This is a great program for worksites, schools, or community groups, families and even individuals. Even your dog can be a member of your team! So gather your family and friends or co-workers to form a team of up to five. Team members will try to average walking or exercising ten miles per week to meet the goal of Everybody Walk PA. Walk with your team or on your own at a time and place convenient for you. Weekly e-mails will include motivators to keep walking and strategies for eating more fruits and vegetables. All of this will keep everyone moving toward a healthier lifestyle. The program will run April 2ndth through May 28th. It’s free but registration is required by April 2, 2018. To receive information about registration, contact Karen Bracey at 570-836-3196

Authors

Karen Bracey