A Daily Dose of Healthy Aging

We take our vitamins, we refill our drug prescriptions, and we try to cram in a few hours of exercise each week and a special anti-aging treatment or two each month. So where’s the bottle of successful aging?

The infomercials barrage us with one miracle product after another that will transform our faces and keep us young-looking forever. Pharmaceutical companies promise us all sorts of medications to make our pains go away, or at least numb us to their existence. But is there really one foolproof solution?

I sincerely doubt it. Like most things in life, I suspect there are many answers and solutions. We know that genetics play a role. In fact, many people who drink and smoke heavily have lived to ripe old ages. While I wouldn’t recommend tempting fate in such a way, it definitely proves that there are other elements at work in addition to good clean living.

Keeping mentally and physically busy and actively social have proven to not only increase the number of years, but the quality of life, in our latter decades.

Refraining from unhealthy habits, like smoking and drinking to excess, have proven to enhance the health and longevity of the rest of us mere mortals who have not been blessed with godlike genes.

And the list goes on. In short, it’s more likely the sum total of all of the little decisions we make on a daily basis that ultimately determines how positively we age.  Doing just three small things each day could be the difference, particularly if one doesn’t counteract all of the progress with too much negative balancing.

For example, I love to park on the outskirts of parking lots. Doing so reduces my stress level as I’m no longer competing for the high-demand spaces, which legitimately might be required by someone who has difficulty walking but is definitely not a necessity for the majority of us. For an added bonus, the cart retrieval storage is often located in the outskirts so it’s easier to return my cart at the end of my shopping experience. Another one of my favorite tricks is taking the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator whenever I can. This gives me a chance to stretch my legs and gives my toosh a bit of a workout. Daily vitamins and laughing as much as possible are two of my other favorites.

I’m certainly far from perfect. I don’t always make the best food choices, and I don’t get nearly as much exercise as I would like (working out of one’s home requires a real commitment to planned activity I have found!) Yet, everyday, I wake up, and promise myself I’m going to do what I can today. And I’ve finally learned not to beat myself up. That’s not a great way to elicit self-cooperation, and it certainly doesn’t create the positive mentality symptomatic of the positively old.

So instead, I try my best each day, recognizing that if I do so long enough, the end result will be superior to my never having tried at all. As a nutritionist once told me when I was beginning a pretty restrictive diet program, strive for 70% success, and you’ll be way ahead of the crowd. At this time in my life, I’m just trying to keep ahead of myself, or at least my evil alter ego.

What about you? Weigh in on your healthy habits and daily doses of successful aging. If you could do just three things each day to add years of quality living to your life span what would they be?

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