June 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm EDT | by Kevin M. Norris
Aging: bring it on!

I have been very fortunate as a personal trainer to work with just about every age group from 9 years of age to 105 and the clients who have been the most stimulating tend to be in the older age bracket.

I have always found older adults insightful, wise and motivating and I decided to dig deeper and find out just what motivates this age group and what keeps them staying healthy as the years pass.

What I discovered was that indeed exercise and eating well was part of their lifestyle, but I also discovered that a positive state of mind, balance and emotional well being were common denominators among the few people I interviewed. Each of them had a lot to say so I decided to let them speak for themselves about what keeps them healthy and vital.

Chick Yeager, 69.

I exercise because it helps my arthritis because a little hurt in the morning is better than hurting all day. And the people in the gym are interesting and diverse and keep me thinking about things that I wouldn’t be thinking about if I was home watching TV.

I do 20 minutes on the treadmill, some yoga and some strength bearing routines for about 50 minutes three or four times a week. I also ride my bike everywhere I can. I also read a lot of politics, science and technology stuff for at least three hours a day and I am engaged with other people at least three hours a day to keep my mind growing. I sometimes go to think tanks that disagree with what I think in order to keep my brain active.

If I would give advice to younger people I believe the best way to live is to surround myself with people who are smart, interesting and challenging to what I believe. Keep active, ride a bike all over the city and meet happy people everywhere. Be excited about the future and want to live longer in order to see it happen.

I am very grateful for all of the people who bring love and joy into my life for I have a life second to none.

Michael Faubion, 59.

Beginning this year, I work out with a personal trainer two evenings per week. For the last 20 years or so, I have worked into my weekly routine a one-hour workout three times per week at a gym. I often scheduled a two-hour break during the middle of the day for a one-hour workout and a 30-minute walk to and from the office. That provided me a second wind to return to the office for another four hours with renewed energy. But the trick for me is to incorporate exercise activity into my daily routine and stick to it.

In addition, and especially in the spring/summer/fall months, I work in the garden every weekend. As I age, I have to enlist help with some of the more daunting tasks, but even a couple of hours on Saturdays and Sundays works wonders, both physically and spiritually.

I believe staying in good health at almost 60 helps by maintaining a positive attitude about life in general. Also, incorporating preventative measures such as annual physicals, a healthful diet and good exercise; and containing stress-inducing work-related issues. In addition, the support of a lifelong partner is a tremendous comfort.

Besides exercise, diet is the most important ingredient in maintaining my health. Fortunately, I have always liked fresh fruit and vegetables and fish more than red meat, and salads have always been a mainstay. The old saying “An apple a day …” is something I follow religiously. In recent years, I’ve eliminated desserts and alcohol from my diet.

My personal experience in following the guidelines outlined above has yielded positive results. Overall, I would advise people younger than I to not worry too much about the aging process, to accept it as part of the natural human progression, don’t compare yourself to others too much and accept the aging with grace.

Richard Witter, 79

What has given me this longevity? I often have no idea. But I try to take it one day at a time — enough to make a good and interesting life.

I believe in the benefits of exercise and diet and physical exams; you never know when a health problem will arise. My last physical three months ago turned up atrial fibrillation for which I was having no symptoms, except a weight gain which I have to bring under control.

I pay attention to naturopathic medicine as well as the traditional medicine. More and more we will come to understand that right foods taken in right measures can do a great deal to help aging and even heal. I keep a chart on the refrigerator, “15 Super Foods for Superior Health.” It’s a good diet and grocery reminder. There is no smoking and drinking (although I did in early years) and no drugs. I walk about a mile a day and do strength training with small weights here at home, although not always consistently.

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