Don’t Retire-ReFire: Physical health and wellness

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times

TatumHealth and Wellness are two words that are not synonymous. However, they do go hand in hand, when it comes to your ReFirement. Health refers to the physical body and whether or not it is free from disease, while wellness, on the other hand, refers to every facet of our lives. It is the complete balance of our well-being from the physical, the spiritual, the emotional, the intellectual, the social, the environmental and the occupational. Breaking it down, there are three factors that will keep you conscience and focused on the most important priority in your life….your wellness!1. First it is important, at different stages in our lives, to reassess our “base-line” physical health. After all, you’ve heard the expression, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Never have truer words been spoken. While we are ReFiring and learning how to feel younger, we mustn’t deny the reality that our bodies are, in fact, getting older. Reassessing your “base-line” physical health means that at certain milestones in our lives we need to get a head-to-toe physical, complete with blood work, mammograms, bone density tests, gynecological or prostate exams, eye exams and visits to your dermatologist.

Comparing the new testing with your previous testing will aid in determining if your health is staying the same, improving or declining. Whatever the outcome is, make your adjustments accordingly. If your results have not changed or if you’ve made an improvement, then keep doing what you’re doing. If your health has declined some, explore all of your options before you fill a prescription. In this day and age, many of us jump at what may appear to be, a “quick fix.”

We may buy into the, “take this pill or drink this drink and you’ll lose 10 lbs. in 7 days” or, worse yet, “take this pill and it will improve your bone mass or lower your blood pressure.” Often times, it’s a change in diet that includes more natural foods like fruits and vegetables, and scaling back considerably on processed foods, which ultimately leads to healthy weight loss. Many health issues can be reduced and possibly eliminated by diet and weight loss. Reaching and maintaining good health takes focus, commitment and determination.

2. Referring to Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, as I do so often, if you know that there are changes you need to make in your life, start by tweaking those issues ever so slightly and, little by little, you will be able to make each change with more ease. For example, if you are a night “grazer”, cut what you eat by 1 cracker or ½ scoop of ice cream or 4 oz. of alcohol. If you stay up too late, go to bed fifteen minutes earlier, then add another fifteen minutes in 5 days and keep building on it, until you’re going to bed at a decent hour. You’ll find yourself waking up more refreshed and ready to go.                                                                                                                                                                                                             Getting into a healthy routine, staying focused, and on track, are the most important components, when making changes. Do you know someone who seems to never gain weight because they eat the same thing at the same time every day, without deviating from their routine? There is a lot of merit to finding a healthy rhythm and sticking to it. An eating routine is particularly imperative for the emotional eater.

3. Ignite your senses. Our five senses-smell, taste, touch, hearing and sight-gradually diminish with our age, especially smell and taste. Even taking a walk can help awaken most of your senses. Listen to the birds chirping. Try to identify the different types of birds, as you look up into the trees. Take the time to stop and breathe in the fragrance of the flowers. Feel the breeze and try to figure out the direction of the wind. Stir up what brings out the child in you, like stomping in mud puddles during a warm summer rain storm.

Just as the old adage goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, we need to keep using our senses throughout the day to keep them strong. As you embrace this new way of sensing the world, you will begin to feel younger and more vibrant.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, your ReFirement journey is bound to be more fun, adventurous and fulfilling. I will leave you with this quote from George Bernard Shaw to ponder, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”


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