LIVING HEALTHY – DR. JOHN KALB – We’re in the midst of a revolution in our understanding of successful aging. An empowering story is emerging—we have significant control over our health, aging process, and quality of our retirement. Many of my patients over the age of 40 or 50 complain that getting older is no picnic. I remind them that it is a privilege and an honor to fully ripen as a human being, and given the alternative, we need to make the best of it. It’s also important to realize that for the most part we get to define what successful aging and retirement looks like for us. A key component of winning an aging is finding the balance and the wisdom to know when to maximize our functional abilities and when we need to compensate and adapt to the inevitable losses. Here is an overview of what science is telling us we can do to improve our experience along the way:
- Spiritual Inquiry—this is the most personal dimension. It involves coming to peace with our religious and spiritual yearnings and finding meaning and purpose larger than oneself. It’s like starting at the top of the mountain when we clarify our values and life purpose. It makes the rest of the journey more pleasurable.
- People Power—engaging with our family, friends, and community gives us a tremendous boost. Our brains were made to connect with other people and to give and receive support is essential. Without the social stimulation of work, we need to avoid isolation and loneliness but also learn to cherish alone time as well.
- True Wealth—money is necessary to retire well in our society, but having money is no guarantee of retiring well. We can improve our relationship with money and boost our own authentic happiness in nonmaterial pursuits.
- Feed Your Head—we need to do whatever we can to both support our brain and challenge our mind. Our brain is uniquely supported by each of these seven dimensions. We stimulate our mind by continuing to learn new things and being open to new experience. This is critically important in retirement.
- The Spark: Physical Activity—staying engaged and being physically active creates an upward spiral of improved mood and energy levels, increased fitness and strength, and perhaps most important of all, healthier brain function. Seek help from your doctor or chiropractor if pain or immobility threatens to send you on a downward spiral.
- Nutritional Supplementation—knowing what supplements to take could literally save your life. If done right, this can be a safe, effective, and inexpensive form of health insurance.
- Authentic Diet—discover a way of eating that is uniquely right for you. Base it on the most researched and successful diet on the planet—Mediterranean style cuisine. Also considered doing an allergy free detoxification program periodically.
Being retired or planning for retirement is the perfect time to find a new vision and live your dreams. We have the power to do this. Be curious, be grateful, be active, be wise, be nourished, and be prepared. In a word—engage!