What Does It Take to Stay Healthy in your ThirdThird?
There is so much to life and health at any age. It’s not just about our weight or diet or exercise routine. We are much more complex and deeper than that. Staying healthy is broad and deep. Since I am intentionally making my ThirdThird (ages 60–90) the BEST Third of my life, I think about how to stay healthy.
I see in google that, “People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks.”
I think that is not a bad description. In my late 60s, I find that I am able to put problems in perspective since I lived through a lot of challenges. Setbacks are not devastating as I’ve made it through plenty of them. I’ve had lots of practice controlling myself, so that, too, is not a huge challenge.
But it still needs to be a conscious decision to stay emotionally healthy. Sharing my burden is healthy… with a trusted and empathetic friend. Journaling to get my real feelings on paper is cathartic. Going on long walks alone gives me balance and time to process. Emotional health takes work. It is worth the effort.
No way around it. To stay fit physically, you have to move. Daily. It takes commitment and resolve. But it is worth it if staying mobile and independent is a goal.
Finding the activity that will get done regularly is the biggest hurdle. My husband runs and I thought that sounded fun… until I tried it. Not for me. Walking is my preferred pace.
I like classes like yoga. Lately, I’ve had a partner to work out with. She is younger and more fit than me. We have fun conversations and keep up on each other’s lives by meeting three times a week to work on balance and core strength. If one of us is unable, there is complete grace to miss. The commitment keeps us regular, even if we miss a day or two.
I have a client who says her mother is “of an age that she is not good with technology.” Hmmm. The woman is several years my junior. Her mother retired and now does very little outside of her own home. From my perspective, she is missing out on so much!
If staying mentally and intellectually healthy is a goal, it doesn’t have to take much in terms of time or money. Sure, you can take a class or enroll back in school (good ideas for many), but it can also be as simple as keeping a crossword puzzle book in the bathroom or finding a podcast to listen to that will spark your curiosity.
Jigsaw puzzles, magazines, blogs, etc. all can give you something to talk about when you have lunch with your friends. Stay curious by checking Google.com if you don’t know what something means or how to find something.
There is deep, spiritual, soulful part in each of us. Nourishing that spirit part is the key to staying healthy in all other realms. I have my own persuasion of spiritual belief that is solid and gives me peace.
And I have grown into an understanding that spirituality is personal and has many shades of color… definitely not as black and white as I was taught for many years. To continue searching and learning spiritually keeps me emotionally and mentally healthy as well.
Spiritual health takes some time. Quiet time. Reading time. Thoughtful time. Alone time. Time that will have to be intentionally set aside to stay healthy.
In virtually every list I have read or heard on staying fit and active in the ThirdThird (ages 60-90), having good relationships is right up there in the top three most important. Lunch connections or coffee dates don’t happen without a bit of planning since my schedule is less “set” than it once was, so I have to think about this.
Volunteering is a great way to be socially healthy, I find. I have met a number of really interesting people over the past two years as a result of running a Food as Medicine program at a local community health center. One or two of those people are now friends I seek out at other times.
Hosting a breeding Mom for Leader Dogs for the Blind is broadening me socially. All of a sudden, I can talk “dog” and have a new conversation topic.
To be intentional social, I am planning a few “conversation events.” A few friends, a general topic, interesting conversation. No big event for entertainment, but hospitality with a purpose.
Staying healthy is not going to happen by chance. It will take a decision to make it a priority and then will take determination to keep it going. It is many-faceted and worth working on.
What are you doing to stay healthy in all aspects of your person? How do you stay fit and active into your 60s and beyond? Please share any tips that you have found helpful in your aging well journey.