“What is active aging?”
According to ICAA (International Council on Active Aging), “active aging promotes the vision of all individuals—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health—fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.”
Sarah Harper, director of Oxford Institute of Aging, suggests that people in their 70’s and 80’s should be considered active adults and not “old”.
WHO (World Health Organization) says “Healthy Ageing is about creating the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives.”
WHO defines Healthy Ageing “as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well being in older age”. Functional ability is the ability to perform activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, and other independent living skills, such as shopping and housework. It’s about having the abilities that enable you to be and do what you value. This includes your ability to:
- meet your basic needs
- learn, grow and make decisions
- be mobile
- build and maintain relationships
- contribute to society.
The Magic Pill – Physical Activity
Do you want to become or remain active and injury free? Physical activity is the number one contributor to longevity, and to adding extra functional years to your life.
The NIH (National Institute of Health) suggests the following steps to help us optimize our journey to functionally longer life:
- Get Moving: Exercise and Physical Activity
- Pay Attention to Weight and Shape
- Healthy Food for Thought: Think About What You Eat
- Participate in Activities You Enjoy
Harvard Medical School has come up with 10 actions you can take to increase your odds of a longer and more satisfying life as you age:
- Don’t smoke
- Enjoy physical and mental activities every day
- Eat a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and substitute healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats
- Take a daily multivitamin, and be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D
- Maintain a healthy weight and body shape
- Challenge your mind. Keep learning and trying new activities
- Build a strong social network
- Follow preventive care and screening guidelines
- Floss, brush, and see a dentist regularly
- Ask your doctor if medication can help you control the potential long-term side effects of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or high cholesterol
If you notice, there are several similarities in the list, and physical activity, movement, and eating healthy are just a few. These are all actions that are in YOUR hands, not part of your genetic code. Throughout the next few articles we will be touching on different aspects of Ageless Fitness and how you can live a functionally active life, well into your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and beyond.
Sharan Tash is the owner of TASH Wellness for Women and Ageless Fitness, a boutique size, women only health, wellness and fitness facility in Skokie. As a 66 year old personal trainer and Functional Aging Specialist that has reduced her weight by 177 pounds, she understands what it takes to be healthy. She partners with women on their unique journey to health through a 6 pronged approach. Sharan can be reached at [email protected] or you can call her at 847-379-5777.