Since I am in my ninth decade, I feel qualified to pass on information I have gathered over the years with regard to extending your life span through practicing common sense.  Here are a few things that I have learned.


YawningCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                 Overtired - Wikimedia

Allowing yourself to become overtired brings on stress.  When that occurs, take a nap, if only for an hour.  Do not try to work through the tiredness.  Of course, it helps if you are retired and have the freedom to spend your days as you wish.

Floss your teeth after every meal.  This practice is designed to keep your teeth and gums healthy so that you can retain them even into your ninth decade.


RunnersCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                  Running is Good Exercise - Wikimedia

We all know that exercise is a good thing, improving our circulation, and aiding in bone health.  Breathing fresh air during the process is an added side effect.  As we get older, we tend to lead a more sedentary life, which is an unhealthy habit.  Seek ways to add extra steps to your day.  Even stretching your arms and legs in front of your television can be beneficial.

If you need to lose five or ten pounds, now is the time to do it when you have control over your activities.  Weight loss will contribute to a lower blood pressure, will lower your bad cholesterol, and will make you more agile.  I have grown into the habit of having two meals a day rather than three, which helps enormously with weight maintenance.  My breakfast for at least the past twenty years has consisted of oatmeal topped with cinnamon, and a cup of coffee.


Fruits and VegetablesCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                     Fruits and Vegetables - Wikimedia

Proper diet is constantly being hawked at people of all ages.  Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be a regular part of our diet.  These classifications of food are critical for regular elimination of waste.  Sweets should be used as a treat, not as a high percentage of your meal.  Drink plenty of water, especially during hot weather; this also helps to eliminate toxins in the body.

Of course, your genes have a lot to say about your longevity.  If your parents lived to a ripe old age, your chances of duplicating their feat is enhanced.  The old argument of nature vs. nurture plays a part here.  If you were raised in poverty without the benefit of proper diet and education, your longevity will be compromised.  Nature (your genes) and nurture (your environment) are both significant factors, not necessarily to the same degree in each individual case.

                                                          PhotographyCredit: Wikimedia Commons                            

                                                   Photography as a Hobby - Wikimedia

Senior citizens often have the benefit of unlimited time which many use to pursue a hobby further or to begin a new hobby.  You may find you have a flair for painting or sketching, woodworking, writing, bird watching, photography, calligraphy, cooking, sewing or any of the innumerable activities that can be pursued when you have extra time.  Such a pursuit might lead to a money-making project which is always welcome, particularly if you are on a limited income.  My personal hobby in my retirement years has been my writing.  I have written over one thousand articles online, first with Yahoo Voices (which dismantled), and now with InfoBarrel.  I have also published two books - “All the Old Familiar Places - Memories of South Buffalo,” and just recently “Psalms of an 83-year-old Woman,” both of which have brought me so much joy. 

Man (and woman) are not meant to be alone.  We need to address the issue of socialization if it is not a part of our schedule.  Frequent contact with family members and friends gives life a certain spice that cannot be obtained in any other way.  Volunteering on a regular basis with an organization will get you out of the house, promote new relationships with people, and will benefit society as a whole.  My Book Club is a great source of socialization for me, and has been for twenty years.  I still maintain contact with high school and college girlfriends, and we get together for lunch on a regular basis.  Baby-sitting your grandchildren (for free) will also reap benefits you may never have expected.   


Sleeping ChildCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                              Sleeping Baby - Wikimedia

Good sleeping habits should really be at the top of the list.  I am guilty of staying up too late at night and sleeping late in the morning.  It is not a good habit to acquire.  However, I compensate by taking a nap in the afternoon, so that I never miss my full complement of eight hours of sleep out of the twenty-four we are given. “Early to bed, early to rise” will allow you to plan a daily schedule which will contribute to your being an organized person aware of the time you must allot for any activities on your agenda for that day.


Holy BibleCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                Holy Bible - Wikimedia

Mental and spiritual stimulation are high on my list for achieving a positive frame of mind.  I find that reading the morning paper, doing the crossword puzzle, and tackling computer games are a means of adding zest to my life. With regard to your spiritual life, daily prayer will bring you into contact with God, and has the result of keeping you on the right track with regard to relationships with other people.  Spiritual reading, retreats, attending church services, are all factors which keep you centered on what is important to you, and what can you let go of.  Church affiliation also brings with it socialization with people of like minds and hearts, contributing to your overall satisfaction with your life.

As a retired senior citizen, you may have a desire to travel in your own country or in a foreign country.  Many organizations sponsor low-cost day trips for seniors, providing a bus and a tour guide for your enjoyment.  Or you may wish to plan a private family trip to educate yourselves about other cultures.  A bus, train, or plane will allow to explore worlds you never knew existed.  The first several years of my retirement were devoted to taking trips to other states and continents, a practice I will never regret for the memories that I have. 


MoneyCredit: Wikimedia Commons

                                                                    Dollar Bills - Pixabay

Financial security indirectly affects your health in old age.  Lack of worry about upcoming bills will give you time to concentrate on more productive ventures.  Access to medical care through a health plan contributes to your longevity.  Your primary doctor is aware of your needs, and will prescribe the right medications for your condition.  Regular visits are important for him/her to detect any change in your general health.

There is one cluster of senior citizens who prefer to work, possibly part-time, rather than to fully retire.  This may stem from financial necessity, a social need, or a desire to fill one’s hours with constructive activity.  The saying “Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?” has been attributed to Edgar Bergen and to President Ronald Reagan.  I find I agree with this statement, but there are many people who want to incorporate hard work into their final years.  I say “Go For It!

Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond
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