Aging Well

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Better Health in the New Year

Tired of hearing about New Year’s resolutions lists by now? This can be especially true when the resolutions involve major changes or difficult adjustments in one’s life. While the New Year is a time to hope for better health, it does not have to be something dreaded or unattainable. It should be viewed as an opportunity to stay healthy as we age and to reduce the risks associated with chronic diseases common among older adults, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

In Aging Well, George E. Vaillant, M.D., director of the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, reveals the conclusion that individual lifestyle choices play a greater role than genetics, wealth, race, or other factors in determining how happy people are in later life.  The longitudinal study found seven factors at age 50 that did predict healthy aging among the study cohort.  The factors were:  1) not being a smoker or stopping young; 2) adaptive coping style; 3) absence of alcohol abuse; 4) healthy weight; 5) stable marriage or relationship; 6) regular exercise, and 7) 12+ years of education.  I like Dr. Vaillant’s quote “Whether we live to a vigorous old age lies not so much in our stars or our genes as in ourselves.”   Self-care is one of the keys to successful aging.

             There is a new resource available to make it easier for individuals to make better lifestyle choices that impact their health.  The NDSU Extension Service is launching a new program, Nourishing Boomers and Beyond in January.  The program especially is for adults 50 and older and offers information and strategies to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. It includes a free monthly newsletter and online learning materials.  You will learn how to keep your muscles, heart, eyes, brain and bones healthy through healthful foods and regular exercise.  Learn more and sign up for the newsletter at www.ndsu.edu/boomers. We can also find the program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nourishingboomers

Nourishing Boomers

           Let’s begin the year by incorporating a lifestyle of healthy choices so we can stay healthy as we age. If you would like additional information on healthy living or the Nourishing Boomers and Beyond program, contact me at jane.strommen@ndsu.edu

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