Aging” is a word that causes most to think of people on the older end life, but in reality aging starts at birth. How successful a person is aging is dependent many factors and choices.
What does it mean age successfully? While this varies some personal preferences, for most people includes a long life, free of significant disease or disability, with good measure of satisfaction and contentment. Many researchers also include those who are able to adjust and adapt to life’s challenges as being successful agers.
The basics of successful aging at every stage of life include: nutritious diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins; being physically active all throughout the day; clean air that without industrial pollution or tobacco smoke; clean water; and finding a purpose and satisfaction within daily tasks and activities.
Citizens of the United States in general, and specifically here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, are very fortunate to have access to nutritious foods, beautiful lakes and forests calling residents to come out and play, clean air and water, and opportunities to work and volunteer for the betterment of our communities, our families, and ourselves.
It is (almost) never too late to start aging successfully. While most people choose Jan. 1 as the date make healthy behavior changes, there is nothing in the successful aging rulebook that says we can’t choose May 30 as our start date.
Choice is really what successful aging comes down to. Of course genetics and other incidents beyond our control play role, but for most people successful aging – or not – is a culmination of simple choices made each and everyday.
Fresh fruits and vegetables vs. processed food from a box
Taking a walk vs. watching television
Not using tobacco vs. using tobacco
Volunteering vs. closing the curtain and locking the door
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Editor’s note: Check U.P. is column featuring doctors and staff from Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, the Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department, and others. This week’s column features Kerry Ott, MA, CHES, Manistique community coordinator for the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health Project