Aging Gracefully and Powerfully

Aging Gracefully and Powerfully

We all have those mornings when we think, “I’m tired; I just wish I could stay in bed.” Days like that demand a strong cup of coffee and a big boost of inspiration. Well, you pour the coffee, let us provide the inspiration along with a few tips on staying strong, healthy, and active. The phrase “80 is the new 60” takes on whole new meaning when we take a look at the accomplishments of some inspirational members of the over 80 set.

One of the common elements in aging powerfully is staying active. Walking, yoga, dancing, and exercise classes, like those offered here at Eastcastle Place, are great options. And if those don’t excite you, there’s always mountain climbing. Yuichioro Miura became the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest in 2013 at the age of 80 after surviving four heart surgeries. Miura followed in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, both literally and figuratively, as he shadowed Hillary’s path to the top of the famous peak. Miura, now 87, was profiled in this BBC story.

Climbing Mt. Everest is definitely not for everyone but a daily walk from here to the Oak Leaf Trail and down to Lake Park is always invigorating. The next time you feel like skipping that walk, think WWFD: What Would Fauja Do? Fauja Singh was the oldest man to run a marathon at the age of 100. Singh started taking early morning jogs at the age of 89, and in 2011, Singh, also known as the Turbaned Tornado, decided to try a marathon. Convincing a running coach to train an 89-year-old was almost as challenging as the marathon itself, but Singh accomplished them both. After he completed the London marathon in six hours and 54 minutes, Singh said, “The first 20 miles are not difficult, the last six, I run while talking to God.” Singh is also the first Indian man to star in a children’s book; check out his story in Fauja Singh Keeps Going.

Inspiring others keeps 116-year-old Hester Ford of Charlotte, NC, going. Ford’s 87-year-old daughter takes care of her daily needs. This grandmother to 68 grandchildren recently celebrated her birthday with a party, visits, singing, and of course, cake.

For inspiration a little bit closer to home, look no further than Jake Jacobson. We all look forward to his monthly column in Eastcastle Place Connections. Jacobson was featured in a Positively Milwaukee profile, and he attributes his longevity and good health to genes, diet, and exercise. A lifelong runner who also did marathons, Jacobson says when his knees gave out, he started taking a daily turn on his exercise bike. Jacobson’s other secrets to enjoying this phase of his life? A passion for writing and a willingness to embrace technology. When it comes to his computer, he appreciates how it keeps him informed and connected. “It’s almost like having a friend really. You’re not alone. I don’t feel alone here, and I think that’s helped me a lot. I feel empathy for those who don’t have a computer,” he explains.

What can you do to ensure that 80 can be the new 60 for you? Get the blues. No, not the music and certainly not sadness. The blues refers to the lifestyle of people who live in Blue Zones. Check out this NPR story on these unique places around the world where active lifestyles, healthy diets, a sense of purpose, and a supportive community all contribute to staying healthy and living longer. Spoiler alert: guess where you can also find all of those things? Right here at home. Eastcastle Place has state of the art fitness facilities, professional trainers, a chef who makes healthy and delicious meals, and most importantly, the people. At Eastcastle Place, we have opportunities to establish strong relationships with neighbors who become friends and friends who are like family.