NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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We Do Better Than "Get By" with a Little Help From Our Friends

we do better than get byPhysical activity, for many people, is more fun when there is a social component to it.  This was certainly true for me when I was a kid walking up and down the rows of soybean fields to pull weeds.  The job itself was boring, but being with my cousins made it fun. 

Most people find that social activity makes physical and mental activity more fun at every age.  Keeping that in mind may be key to helping us age well.

Being socially active also reduces stress levels and helps us maintain a healthy brain and heart.  Additionally, being social can enhance our immune system to help fight infection and disease.   According to the National Institute on Aging, people who maintain strong social connections with friends, loved ones and confidants also have lower risks of illness, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 

On the flip side, older adults who lose meaningful relationships with people are at greater risk of becoming depressed, marginalized by society, losing their physical and mental vitality, and entering long term care. 

Social connections are key to improved health and perceived well-being.  In fact, AARP has found that lifestyles which include stimulating mental activity, especially in the terms of social interaction, are associated with successful aging.    

The Alzheimer’s Association identifies various ways to seek social connections.  Running the gamut from close personal relationships and emotional support, to sports and cultural activities, the options are plentiful.  Staying active through paid work or employment, hobbies, volunteering, participating in clubs, classes, workshops, life-long learning, and travel are just a few examples of physical and mental activities that promote social engagement.

Locally, “Bone Builders” is one such activity.  Another option would be “Stepping On” classes, which will be starting in July.  By participating in both groups, individuals maximize the benefits for themselves.  If your new year’s resolution went by the wayside, now would be a great time and a wonderful opportunity to make a mid-year resolution to focus on your wellness and well-being.  Please contact me for more information about participating.

Source:  Keys to Embracing Aging, University of Kentucky, University of Arkansas.

Photo Credit:  https://pixabay.com/en/old-people-couple-together-616718/ (downloaded 6-6-16)

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