10 Ways to extend a healthy life
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Active-aging expert offers “e-tips” for attaining and maintaining health in 2011
VANCOUVER-- What’s the difference between the day before your birthday and the day after? “Practically speaking, nothing at all,” declares Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (www.icaa.cc), a membership organization that brings together professionals in the independent and assisted living, fitness, rehabilitation and wellness fields to dispel society's myths about aging..
“Whether you’re turning 30, 40, 50, 65, or 90, there’s no reason to assume you’re doomed to decline after a certain age—especially if you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy and active.”
Milner offers the following “E-tips” to help you extend a healthy life, or embark on one if you haven’t yet done so (citations available on request):
Expectations: If you’ve been following a healthy lifestyle up 'til now, simply keep going; if you need to make changes, anticipate succeeding, not failing—and don’t let age be a barrier. Research has shown that thinking positively about getting older can extend your life by as much as 7.5 years.
Enthusiasm: Few people are thrilled with every aspect of their lives, but many have at least one area—family, friends, work, avocation—they feel good about. Identify an activity or connection that sparks your enthusiasm and make it your lifeline; try to extend that enthusiasm to other areas of your life.
Energy: Having the energy and motivation you need to age well are hallmarks of healthy living. If you’re fatigued all the time, don’t let apathy and lethargy drag you down; get a checkup to try to determine the cause—and the solution.
Eating: Eating a balanced diet and attaining/maintaining a normal weight are keys to physical and mental health; if you need to lose weight or make changes in your diet, keep your expectations high—you can do it.
Exercise: Staying physically active fuels the body and mind. If you’re already exercising regularly, keep it up; if you’re getting started, know your skill level, set goals, progress at your own pace, and be consistent.
Engagement: Volunteers have higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction than those who don’t volunteer; volunteering and other forms of civic and social engagement can play an important role in maintaining good health in later life. “Get involved,” Milner urges.
Emotions: Everyone feels down at times, but full-blown depression is a major cause of disability. If you’re feeling out of sorts for two weeks or more, talk with your doctor or take an online screening test at www.mentalhealthscreening.org/. In many instances, simply exercising and eating right can change your mood.
Education: Life-long learning is important to living an independent and fulfilling life. Start now to learn a new area of knowledge or physical activity. It’s good for the brain.
Effort: Changing expectations and embarking on new behaviors take energy and effort, but the results are well worth it.
Enjoyment: A healthy life generally is a joyous one. “Savor the process of being or becoming active, engaged, and truly alive,” Milner enthuses.
“The new year is a great time to take stock and ask yourself, ‘where do I want to go from here?,’” Milner says. “Emphasize the positive and don’t let your age, or anyone else, deter you.”
About the International Council on Active Aging
The International Council on Active Aging® is the professional association that leads, connects and defines the active-aging industry. ICAA supports professionals who develop wellness facilities, programs and services for adults over 50. The association is focused on active aging—an approach to aging that helps older adults live as fully as possible within all dimensions of wellness—and provides its members with education, information, resources and tools. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport.
For interviews please contact:
Contact: Colin Milner, CEO, ICAA
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
Contact: Marilynn Larkin
Communications Director, ICAA