By Neil Short, certified strength and conditioning specialist and and creator of ‘Be Strong Be Free’
Here is a resolution for all of us over 55: Commit to a life of Positive Aging. This is our life-long resolution, not merely a New Year’s Resolution.
New Year’s Resolutions tend to focus on subjects like weight loss and learning a new language. New Year’s Resolutions are all too often made only to be broken, and quit quickly at that. When a resolution (weight loss) is broken, the negative activity (eating poorly) becomes much worse. Everyone knows that New Year’s Resolutions usually fail.
Rather than making a doomed – to – fail resolution for the New Year, those of us 55 and older need to make a life plan to take responsibility for our lives and make the next years the best they can possibly be.
Does that sound just too grand and broad to be real and effective? It is not. A positive life plan starts with an attitude that puts you in charge of how you will age and flourish versus allowing yourself to wither. Choose active aging rather than allow aging to be a form of disability. Decide that you want to remain active to the fullest degree possible and then do what needs to be done.
In this column, which will appear monthly on The Pulse, I will explore topics that contribute to a healthy, happy and productive life at any age. The basic tenents are the same, no matter if you are 20 or 70. But I will devote this space to those of us who, in the words of Dylan Thomas, will “not go gentle into that good night.”
Certainly you must eat well to have any hope of being the best you can be. Of course you must engage in exercise centered on strength training to give you the boost and ability to live a full life. But there is one more dynamic of positive aging that you must buy into to make your senior years full and rewarding.
A key ingredient is committing to a purpose or a cause that forces you outside of your personal universe. Find meaning in your life beyond your family and your home projects. To be the best possible version of you, step out of your comfort zone and contribute to the broader community. Opportunities abound. Work with a church group; volunteer in a meaningful way with one of the many fine non-profit organizations in our community. Expend yourself and expand yourself. The community will benefit, but even more important, you will be the better for it.
Here is your resolution then: commit to a life of positive aging that includes contributing your time, energy, and talents to a worthy cause.
Expand your personal universe by making aging a positive process. Eat well, exercise enthusiastically, and become engaged in the community. Everything else will fall into place.
Neil Short demonstrates this good starter exercise which can be done with weighted objects found around your house – like two filled water bottles. Find more exercises and strength-training tips at http://www.bestrongbefree.com/. Never start any exercise program without first consulting your healthcare provider.
Neil Short, 66, of Casper, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 certified coach. As he approached age 60, he sought to discover why some seniors recover from health problems, but others do not, and why some people power into their senior years while others allow aging to become a form of disability. The answer became very clear: strength training.
He is the creator of “Be Strong Be Free,” a home-based strength-training program to help you stay active into your 80s and 90s. Learn more at http://www.bestrongbefree.com/ His “Strength in Numbers” column appears monthly on The Pulse.