From all of us here at the Finney County Senior Center and Transit, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!
The following 10 tips from activebeat.com will not only ease one into the aging process without too much shock, but also help decrease the risk of chronic disease, injury, and may even lead us into our 90s drama free:
• Tip 1: You need seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night for good health. As hard as it is to get, sleep is one of the most important health-protecting behaviors above all else. Moreover, chronic sleeplessness can lead to mental health issues, like depression and physical issues, including chronic disease. If sleep is a challenge, it may be a good time to consult a sleep expert or try making simple changes at home, including turning off the screen an hour before bed, taking a hot bath or shower, or creating a relaxing environment in the bedroom.
• Tip 2: Stretch inflexibility can be blamed for a myriad of injuries and health issues, including chronic back pain, muscle strain and falls. The fact is, if we don’t use our muscles in activity we will lose our muscles to atrophy. The good news is flexibility can be increased at any age, any place, at any time. Don’t have time to stretch? Think stretching is boring and unnecessary? Try turning on a favorite TV show or movie and stretching in front of it. All it takes is a few minutes a day to see gains in muscle length and mobility.
• Tip 3: Physical activity can reverse many age-related changes we may start noticing over the age of 40. A daily walk can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, increase lung capacity, and strengthen the immune system to help reduce the number of colds and flus we get per year. Physical activity can keep depression at bay and even treat mild to moderate depression without the aid of an anti-depressant. It can reduce wrinkles by keeping the skin oxygenated and even keep us looking great in our jeans. If the benefits of physical activity could be packaged into a pill, it would be the most sought after medication in the world.
• Tip 4: A healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, and legumes to get all the anti-oxidants we need to reduce the cellular effects of aging. These antioxidants can help delay the aging process by fighting again the cell damage caused by free radicals produced by normal metabolism and external sources such as pollution, smoking, and UV rays from the sun. By including vegetables of all colors into our nutritional plan, we are ensuring we receive a wide variety of nutrients necessary for good health and happy aging.
• Tip 5: The average American consumes 150 to 170pounds of sugar each year. Although one may think it would take a simple change in diet to eat less sugar, sugar is now found in the most unlikely places. From sauces and ketchups to yogurt and packaged meats, one must be diligent in reading the ingredients list to identity where the sugar is hiding. Sugar can increase your chances in heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancers. Sugar has been linked to inflammation, which has been related to many chronic diseases such as certain cancers, diabetes, and arthritis.
• Tip 6: Include exercises like balancing and core stability, maintaining flexible muscles, and paying attention to the importance of rest. Keep in mind, movement and mobility at 80 years old is much different than it is at 40. The key to keeping as mobile and pain free as possible in our 80s and even 90s is to pay attention to those exercises that keep us limber and stable. With daily stretching and balancing exercises, our muscles will remain flexible and our joints stable enough to overcome a sudden trip on the pavement.
• Tip 7: The mistake many make is starting an exercise or sport program where we left off…20years ago. Although we may still feel young, our body has aged. When getting back to exercise, it is important to start at the beginning working our way to increases in strength, stamina, and ability. Although our muscles have memory and the activity may not be as hard to pick up the second time around, they have weakened and need some time to gain what they lost. The good news is age is not a factor in strength and flexibility gains, it just may take a little more time.
• Tip 8: Exercise may not lead to weight loss as we age, but a combination of exercise and a healthy diet might. Of course one must factor in other causes of weight maintenance and gain, including chronic stress, mental illness, lack of sleep, and injuries. No matter what the weight loss or gain, we can be assured that if we enjoy a lifelong exercise regime coupled with healthy nutrition, we will enjoy the benefits of increased energy and decreased chronic disease.
• Tip 9: Acceptance is the key to a healthy and happy aging process, but that doesn’t mean one has to accept the weight gain or lack of energy. There are many healthy ways to change one’s lifestyle through diet, sleep, and physical activity that may keep what we have as long as we can. A famous anonymous quote once stated, “Youth is an act of nature; age is a work of art”.
• Tip 10: It’s easy to get mired down in the negative thoughts of our aging process. It is probably not uncommon for many of us to peer into the morning mirror and wonder who is looking back at us. It is at this time that practicing gratitude is the most important to help shift our focus on the positive things in our lives. Another application of gratitude is as simple as listing as many things we are grateful for while driving to work, waiting in the coffee line-up, or before we go to sleep. Take the challenge and practice daily gratitude for one month. The results may be pleasantly surprising.
Thursday: Tops, 8:30 a.m.; Skip Bo, 1 p.m.; Bridge, 1:15 p.m.; FCCA Meeting, 2:30 p.m.
Friday: Line Dancing, 8:30 a.m.; Nurse, 10:30 a.m.; Enhance Fitness, 1 p.m.; Qwirkle, 1 p.m.; Bridge, 1:15 p.m.
Saturday: The pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.
Sunday: Duplicate bridge, 2 p.m.
Monday: Senior Center and Finney County Transit is closed.
Tuesday: Senior Center and Finney County Transit is closed. MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Dec. 26: Line dancing, 8:30 a.m.; Completely Unraveled, 9:30 a.m.; Enhance Fitness, 11 a.m.; Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.; No dance.
Thursday: Chicken Kiev, wild rice, cauliflower/cheese sauce, fruit
Friday: Baked ham with pineapple, baked potatoes with sour cream, peas, Oreo cookie
Dec 26: Roast beef stuffing rollups, mashed potatoes/gravy, green beans, Fruit
Patti Thummel is the interim executive director of the Senior Center of Finney County and director of Meals on Wheels.