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Five Things I’m Doing To Age Gracefully & Healthfully

Let’s have an honest conversation about aging and growing old. I think it’s easy to have tunnel vision when it comes this topic. We have the tendency to limit aging to focus more on the next phase in our life instead of the overall big picture. So for us growing older means hitting common social norms such as finding a partner, establishing  career, having children, enrolling the kids in school, sending kids off to college, making career advances, enjoying an empty nest, traveling and then finally retiring and joining the senior sect. Those are all landmarks on the road to becoming an older adult and it’s imperative that we stay engaged in setting ourselves up for a healthy and active future while we live through all of it.

I’m the first to admit that it’s not only overwhelming to think about but also a little bit scary. But the truth is that what you do today makes an impact on your future self. Here are some facts from getold.com:

– More than 10,000 people are expected to turn 65 every day through 2030
– By 2025, nearly half the U.S. adult population is expected to have at least one chronic condition
– Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and many could be prevented or delayed through simple lifestyle changes

So I ask you this…when you turn 65 how do you want to look and feel? One of my favorite analogies is to think of your body like a car. You want to give it premium fuel so that it runs efficiently every day, regular tune ups so that it maintains its integrity over time and major overhauls and parts replacements when something needs to change to ensure the future life of the car. You can drive your car really hard, not bring it into the shop and have it break down at 75,000 miles or you can baby that thing and do all of the necessary upkeep and maintenance and drive it until it has hundreds of thousands of miles on it. It’s up to you. What do you do for your car to make sure that it stays on the road?

Here are five ways that I am taking care of myself now to promote graceful and healthy aging.

1. A Regular Yoga Practice


I practice yoga to maintain flexibility in my joints and in my mind. I love the quote, “Blessed are those who are flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” My yoga practice is something that sustains my body and mind. It has helped me in so many ways from dealing with injuries to reducing stress to improving my communication with others.

2. A Strong Skincare Regimen 


If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you have read about my struggles with finding a skin care routine that works for me. Well, I finally did this year and I’m happy to report that in addition to wearing sunscreen daily, I am also using products that prevent and treat fine lines, lighten, tone and moisturize. I’m so happy with the appearance of my skin and to finally be on a regimen that works for me.

3. Cardiovascular Exercise and Lifting Weights


My grandmother is 82 years old and goes to the wellness center three times per week to workout. There is so much data out there that supports that working out and lifting weights supports the muscles and bone structure in meaningful ways.

One study states,

“Exercise can partially reverse the effects of the aging process on physiological functions and preserve functional reserve in the elderly. Numerous studies have shown that maintaining a minimum quantity and quality of exercise decreases the risk of death, prevents the development of certain cancers, lowers the risk of osteoporosis and increases longevity.”

Yoga, weights and cardio for life!

4. A Healthy and Diverse Diet


In the last year I feel like I have finally really figured out how to fuel my body. I eat a diet heavy in lean proteins, healthy grains, fruits, veggies and dairy while enjoying the occasional splurge. I have never felt better…my digestion and gut health seem good and the foods I eat satisfy and sustain me through long days. Whenever possible I shop at the farmers market to stock up on local meats and produce. I also try to buy organic when possible.

5. Strong Connections with Friends and Family


I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for my relationships with family and friends. I am so blessed to have the sweetest and most supportive parents ever, a grandmother who has known just the right thing to say for the last 30 years and friends who truly, authentically care about me and my happiness and growth. Life is not always easy but those hard times are so much easier to tackle with an army of support behind you. What are you doing today to age gracefully and healthfully?

  • Get Old is an initiative developed by Pfizer  to challenge people of all ages to rethink what it means to Get Old and take a more active role in their health and quality of life at every age.  Whether it’s through watching what you eat, physical exercise, spending time with family and friends or participating in an activity you’re passionate about — each of us has the power to decide for ourselves how we want to Get Old. It’s not just about living longer, but living better.

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Pfizer and Get Old. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own. 

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • courtney vickery December 6, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Love this post! I am studying gerontology along with nutrition, so we talk about this topic a lot! 🙂

  • She Rocks Fitness December 6, 2013, 5:15 pm

    High-Fives to all of the above! I have not been so good with my skin regimen lately. I think my skin is slowly but surely adjusting to the Houston weather. It is all over the place right now, but I need to start taking better care of it, cause I am a sun goddess.

  • elizabeth December 6, 2013, 5:38 pm

    Like you, I exercise daily and eat healthy, but am not always happy with my gut health/digestion. Have you had to change anything in your diet to improve digestion? You say you have finally figured out in the last year how to fuel your body, what specific changes have you made that are working for you?

  • Elise @ 9toFit.com December 6, 2013, 6:19 pm

    I have found out of all the workouts I do, yoga makes my body feel the youngest !

  • Danielle @ LabelsAreForTinCans December 6, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with these tips! It’s such a refreshing way to look at healthy living… It really emphasizes the importance of making it a lifestyle and long-term thing!

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun December 6, 2013, 7:31 pm

    Love all of these! I am in the process of slowly working on my diet and incorporating yoga back into my life! I really need to do more of it but always find myself putting it off because I’m just so bad at it. The only way to get better is practice and I need to make it more of a forefront of my week!

  • Nikki December 6, 2013, 10:14 pm

    I love all of your answers! You always inspire me to make time for my yoga and to commit to a life Long practice.

    I am curious, what is Pfizer’s role in this partnership? Aren’t they sort of in a business that relies on people being unhealthy? ( not to sound pessimistic, but I mean.. They have to make money).

    • AC December 7, 2013, 2:41 am

      Nikki, just thought I’d chime in and say that it’s sort of unfair to label Pfizer, or any pharmaceutical company, like that. I know they get a bad rap, and some of the criticism is certainly called for, but it’s also important to recognize the wonderful tools they give people. My dad’s in the pharmaceutical industry and I find it very hurtful to hear people’s responses when they learn what he does. His company makes a lot of anesthesia and IV drip fluids in addition to actual medicine. These things are absolutely ESSENTIAL to hospitals and I think it’s absurd how some people frown upon pharmaceutical companies yet are constantly wanting the latest in medical technology and practice

      Also, while Pfizer is certainly dependent on people being “unhealthy”, I think there are plenty of people who aim to age gracefully and healthfully who still end up with conditions that require extensive medical care. My wonderful grandmother rarely drank, never smoked or tanned and maintained a healthy weight (between a size 2 and 6 or so) her entire adult life. She died from stomach cancer despite a lifetime of very “healthy living”

      That said, I applaud Jen at PBR for encouraging healthy eating/yoga/etc, and those are certainly VERY helpful with regard to some diseases, and certainly mental health. Oh and btw my dad doesn’t work for Pfizer or anything. I’m just tired of people bringing stuff like that up. I think the same can be said of lawyers, politicians, etc…they’re not all bad!!

      • Nikki December 7, 2013, 7:20 am

        Hi AC!

        Thanks for such a thoughtful response. I definitely don’t agree wih the bad rap that pharmaceutical companies get (I work in a related field)! Pharma, and big pharma in particular, does does so much of the legwork and R&D for new drugs that places like universities just can’t do, and they are a super important part of our health care system.

        That being said, I do still wonder why a place like Pfizer is paying a healthy living blogger money fr their bottom line for a partnership like this? This is a post that Pfizer has chosen to give money to Jen to write, so I think their motivation behind funding it is relevant – that transparency is a lot clearer when it’s sponsored by a product the writer loves and uses every day, and I find that connection a little more difficult here. I think it’s really important to have discussions like this on blogs – I keeps the integrity of the blog high (and I have a lot of respect for Jen) and it also puts things in context for new readers, giving them an understanding between the sometimes subtle different between regular posts and sponsored posts.

        • AC December 7, 2013, 11:46 am

          I agree Pfizer’s involvement with Jen is a bit random. I’m also curious as to why they reached out to a blogger. Just kind of funny because Pfizer isn’t necessarily trying to market “itself”, just its drugs

  • Molly @ Mollysmusingz December 6, 2013, 10:55 pm

    I love this post!! I am currently dealing with a really bad hip injury and it has taught me to SLOW down. Between yoga, running and CrossFit, I had been over doing it. Through Physical Therapy and lots of research I am learning how to take precautionary measures for fitness and other health aspects. Learning to take care of things BEFORE they happen has been a big lesson from my injury and I hope will ensure getting old healthy! 🙂

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope December 7, 2013, 5:09 am

    Great post! Yoga and a healthy diet are my top two! Yoga helps so much with stress and all-over body strength/flexibility, and I believe that what goes into me plays a huge role in my overall health and well-being.

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen December 8, 2013, 2:13 pm

    You are awesome! I need to add more yoga and “me time” into my life, but I am good at eating lots of fruits and veggies, being active and I am getting better at my skin care routine! 🙂

  • Annie @ herightfit.com December 8, 2013, 4:04 pm

    I eat with balance–mostly healthy and with some splurges (I think that is good for the soul), am active every day, and am religious about sunscreen!

  • Lauren Smith December 9, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Excellent advice, Jen :-). I agree we need to start thinking about taking care of ourselves now in order to be healthier in older age. I have not tried yoga yet, but have pondered it. Looks like a great way to stay in shape without the high impact. I just finished a wonderful book by Johann Christoph Arnold on growing old well called, Rich in Years. In his book I really liked to learning how to grow old well from someone who is on the same journey and talks candidly about his own struggles. http://www.richinyears.com

    • BonnieW December 10, 2013, 1:39 pm

      You should try yoga, Lauren. It is the best for your overall health and well being. I am 65, and also take advantage of the free classes at my local YMCA :-). Rich in Years looks like a fantastic read – thanks for sharing this one!

      • Lauren Smith December 11, 2013, 1:42 pm

        Thanks for that, Bonnie! Johann’s book is excellent. Enjoy!

  • heidi December 11, 2013, 10:44 pm

    Love this Jen!! I agree 110% with all if your points 🙂
    Thank you for covering these. 🙂

  • Tracey December 13, 2013, 12:04 pm

    Dangit, I want to have legs like yours again. Sigh… you’re kind of inspiring me to work out again. CURSE YOU.

    I don’t really want you cursed. I just want to enjoy these Christmas cookies and I think the moment has now passed.

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