aging

Aging with Ease: Two Simple Ways to Do It!

Hello!

This week, we’re going to look at something that could be tangentially related to your relationship with money. However, I do know it has everything to do with your relationship with your life. It’s how to age with ease and happiness. It’s about longevity, but not just longevity for longevity’s sake. We’re looking at longevity in which you’re experiencing a life well lived. 

A couple of weeks ago, my aunt Gloria had her 95th birthday. She’s 95 years old and still in full possession of her intellectual faculties. I mean, the woman is a firecracker, truly. It was wonderful. We had her friends and family gather around her. One thing we decided to do was to make a series of videotaped snippets of people in the family, as well as her friends, talking about what they appreciated about her, what they admired about her,  and the difference that she made in their lives. 

Halfway through her birthday party, we sat her down in front of this big widescreen television, and we played those video snippets. It was terrific to see Gloria’s face. Sometimes she laughed and sometimes, I could tell, she cried a little, but she was moved, moved beyond expression. A few minutes later, after it finished, she turned and faced us all and told us what it meant to her to be able to hear all these things and how important we were to her. 

I have to tell you something. You know, one of those times in your life,  you could call it a pivotal moment, in which you say to yourself, “It doesn’t get any better than this!” I could tell by the look on her face and the sound of her voice that that was precisely what she was experiencing at that moment as she spoke to us. And that’s what it was like for me and probably the other members of the group as well; to see how meaningful our relationships are to her. You see, we knew how meaningful her relationship was to us, but to hear the other way around, how important we are to her, moved everybody. 

So, let’s look at aging with ease and happiness.

But first, let’s take a brief look at the problems associated with some alternative methods created to bring about a prolonged lifespan using new treatments for the body, with minimal care for the mind or heart.

For example, suppose you’re like many of us who peruse through countless articles, looking for the best ways to ensure longevity. In that case, you’ve doubtless discovered all the formulas as well as longevity clinics that have been created to give us the “promise of longevity” if only we follow what they suggest. To be sure, a few suggestions seem to be backed by scientific proof of their efficacy. However, almost none have been approved by the FDA for their use on people. What they often downplay is that their formulas for success are expensive, often requiring medically trained personnel to administer the treatments that promise to “lower your biological age” with an assortment of processes and formulas.  Do they work? The longevity outcome data, for the most part,  are inconclusive. 

If you want to read more about longevity clinics, go to this article from Happi Magazine

One Way that Promotes Successful Aging with Happiness

As captured in the new book, “The Good Life – Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness,” co-authors Marc Schulz and Robert Waldinger, associate director, and director, respectively, are currently leading the ongoing Harvard Adult Development Study now in its 85th year. 

They talk about a “secret sauce” to longevity that has less to do with traditional thoughts about exercise, diet, educational level, the neighborhood you grew up in, or how much money you make. Instead, they found that living a longer, better life is based on quality relationships, including a good relationship with a “significant other.”

This finding bore up whether or not different cohorts, women, and even children of the original group were added over the eight decades of this study (which is still going on). With all of the research in happiness science, this isn’t surprising. What is noteworthy is that this result regarding the effect of relationships on aging well is at the core of almost all of the relationship and longevity research.

What does this mean for you? Is it time for you to reach out and strengthen your relationships? Please take a moment while you read this article to look at the importance you give to having good relationships in your life. I’m giving you a few sentences to complete. You may want to write down your thoughts:

  • If I had the time, I would schedule (                ) with at least one friend.
  • Here is the name of someone who I’ve not touched base with in a long time. I promise to connect with them within the next seven days:  (        )
  • I enjoy being around (          ) because we have fun together.
  • My list of three close friends includes (            ), (         ), and (        ).
  • I want to reach out to at least (          ) family members to plan a date to talk, whether it’s in person or connected to a chat space like (     ).

Take what you’ve written and use it to guide you into strengthening your relationships.

Research into the nature of friendships as we age suggests that we cultivate intergenerational friendships. It especially helps those of us who, because we’re living longer, may begin to lose people who have played a significant relationship role in our lives. I experienced that just recently when a dear friend of mine passed away unexpectedly.

The Second Way to Promote Aging with Ease and Happiness

Let’s look at an essential factor in aging successfully; the significance of maintaining leg strength as we age. Yes! You’re reading this right. The strength of our legs helps determine whether we experience more ease as well as happiness as we live longer. Leg strength training is not just about fitness; it’s about maintaining our mobility and reducing the risk of falls. As we age, there’s a tendency to walk more slowly, looking at the ground in front of us, rather than keeping our gaze forward to be able to predict what’s ahead. Maintaining the strengths of our legs has been proven to boost walking speeds and overall physical performance in older adults, making daily activities easier and enhancing quality of life.

Here’s some exciting news: we can develop the strength of our legs at any age, which is a critical factor in maintaining our independence​ ​. And that’s not all. Muscle-strengthening exercises are crucial for combating sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. This condition can significantly affect our mobility and the ability to perform our daily tasks​ . But with the right exercises,​ we can continue to maintain our strength and independence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends integrating strength training exercises into your routine to help preserve muscle strength, dignity, and independence as you age​. This training can include activities like squats and chair rises, which target major muscle groups and are effective in maintaining our necessary muscle functionality and strength. By adding these exercises into your daily routine, you’re taking a proactive step towards maintaining your health and independence, an achievement you can be proud of. The CDC also provides comprehensive resources and exercise recommendations that are easily accessible so that we have the support and guidance that you and I need.

Why is your leg strength the second important factor in aging with ease and happiness? The answer is simple: self-efficacy.

  • Self-efficacy is a crucial concept in psychology, particularly as it relates to aging and longevity. Coined by psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. This belief strongly influences how people think, behave, and feel.
  • If you are able to walk at a pace that’s conducive to stumbling or falling, you are likely to see a marked diminishing in your self-efficacy.  In other words, trying not to fall paradoxically increases the likelihood that you will.
  • Instead, it’s possible to experience self-efficacy well into late adulthood. Many of us have read articles on steps we can take to create goals that promote our sense of well-being, happiness, and fun. It stands to reason that when we find it easier to get around, our goals will reflect it by including the possibility of having adventures that keep us feeling young.

This article has given you what you can do to experience longevity with ease and happiness. Please feel free to let me know what you are doing to create the life you would love to live! I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, go and be great!

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