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to Extend a Healthy Life
expert offers “e-tips” for attaining and
maintaining health in 2011
(Vancouver-December 2010) 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
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
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
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.