Column: The process of getting older

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Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

 

Because I am surrounded by people who are older than I am (it’s the only time I feel young!), it’s easy to observe how differently we age.

Yesterday, I was shocked to learn that the gentleman who often shares our bar stools was celebrating his 89th birthday. What made this surprising was that he plays 18 holes of golf daily, weather permitting, and sometimes doubles it. He looks and acts like a much younger person.

Next to him, on the bar stools, is a lady who is in her mid-80s, has had multiple back surgeries and uses a walker to get around. We all know which one we would like to emulate, but what’s the secret? If we knew, we would win the lottery!

Some of the “secret” begins when we are born; our gene pool. Did your parents live to a ripe old age? Which diseases are in your pipeline? If we don’t have good prospects, based on our genes, can we prolong life by our lifestyle choices? Yes, how we eat and whether we exercise can make a huge difference in how our body ages. Whether we smoke and how much alcohol we consume are also indicators of future health problems.

Maintaining a healthy weight for your body structure is crucial for your knees, hips and back. Being overweight creates the possibility of diabetes and heart disease.

A healthy attitude and positive outlook can also create a happier aging process. Let’s face it, we begin aging when we are born. Our decisions through our lifetime can help us or hurt us. Taking responsibility for our aging process is something we can all do.


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