Last year I interviewed one of my friends and yoga students about her lifestyle. This spunky 101-year-old woman has been a blessing and an inspiration in my life and I can’t let her story go untold any longer. The advice she gives for living a healthy life is very simple and I hope you find it uplifting and inspiring.
In 2006 June started attending my chair yoga class at the local senior center where I volunteer. I was amazed then at her abilities and strength for an 87-year-old; however, what is crazy is that fourteen years later she hasn’t slowed down much and is still exercising daily.
June lives independently, cooks her meals, cleans her home, and does a little gardening. Her mind is sharp and she shows no sign of dementia. She carries on a conversation like someone half her age.
The only complaint she has about her health is that her hearing is not as good as she’d like it to be. She does have arthritis and can’t crochet and knit as she would like, but she doesn’t complain. Both of her knees have been replaced and she had a hip replacement a few years back at the age of 98. AMAZING! There are not very many 98 years olds fit enough to go through a hip replacement at that age.
I asked June what medications she takes if any, and she replied saying she takes calcium and iron and a few other vitamins. I chuckled inside and got it out of her that the only pharmaceutical medication she takes is a thyroid pill, no blood pressure meds, arthritis pills, etc. AMAZING!
SHOULD LIVING TO BE A 101-YEAR-OLD BE OUR GOAL?
I must admit, I’m not sure I want to live to be 101 years old. There have been many days when I drop June off from yoga class and drive away with tears streaming down my face, tears because I am feeling that life just isn’t fair. How come this 100-year-old feels better than me?
You see, for someone a little over half her age, I do have health challenges and don’t feel so great most days despite my efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, I am still faced with the fact that yes, I do have to rely on some medications because my health is not perfect. This can be a little wearing on the soul.
I don’t want you to think just because I’m posting about a wonderful 101-year-old, we SHOULD all strive to live this age. The point I want to make is that we should focus on the quality of our life, not how long we live. Not all of us are meant to live this long or are meant to have great health as June has been blessed with. (My amazing husband has to keep reminding me of this on those days when I am depressed and overwhelmed with my health challenges).
I am going to share with you some of June’s advice and I think its good stuff to know and apply whatever your age or health status.
If you don’t feel good or have perfect health at age 50 or 100, that doesn’t mean your defective or that something is wrong with you!
ADVICE FROM A 101-YEAR-OLD
1 -GET UP EARLY
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin
June wakes up at 6:00 a.m. every day. Not saying you have to get up that early every day, but I will admit, when I get up early I do feel much better and my day goes much smoother. Here is a good article that gives 15 benefits of waking up early.
2 –EAT WHOLE FOODS, NOT JUNK FOOD.
June prepares her meals from whole foods. She very rarely eats out and doesn’t have a lot of snacks and processed foods in her house. She makes a lot of soups and freezes the leftovers for other meals. June makes a green smoothie several times a week and juices celery several times a week. (The juicing and smoothie making is something she has learned about and incorporated just the past 3 years). I love the fact that she is willing to try new things!
3 –CONSUME THE LARGEST MEAL AT LUNCHTIME
June eats her largest meal at lunchtime. She said if she eats a big meal at night, she has acid reflux issues. My grandparents were farmers, and they ate their big meal at lunchtime as well. There are some noted benefits that you can read about HERE.
4 –LIMIT TIME IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION
June does not watch a lot of television. She gets up early to watch her favorite religious program and does watch the news here and there, but that’s about it.
5 –LIMIT CELL PHONE AND GAMING TIME
June advises on having children and adults to not spend so much time using cell phones and game devices. We all know this can be problematic, right? BALANCE IS THE KEY.
6 –GET TOGETHER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Spending quality time with friends or loved ones is good for the soul. June gets together with her children and grandchildren for dinner every Sunday and other special events. She advises this for others and finds an important part of healthy living. There are other noted health benefits.
7 –READ GOOD BOOKS
9 –DAILY MOVEMENT
June told me one day, “If you don’t move it, you lose it”. This is so true and it is one thing that inspires me about June. She still exercises every day! Before she even gets out of bed she does several exercises and stretches right there in her bed. Some of the exercises she does are listed here in this post and video tutorial.
June does 10-15 sit-ups every morning in her bed. Yep. I think to myself if a 101-year-old can do this, so can I. (Not that I do it every day, I do it more regularly). She is truly inspiring, right? Now I know some of us young folks can’t even do one sit up. The key is to work up to it. Once you can do something, KEEP DOING IT!
I hope to be doing some of these things as long as I live. Like doing a cartwheel, I want to be able to do a cartwheel when I’m 90.
10-HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE
Having a good attitude is half the battle. Our thoughts are HUGE. There is a quote that I love and that I have written on my chalkboard in my kitchen.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. Shakespeare
June has a good attitude and complains very little when I am around her.
So there you have it, my friends. Some things for you to ponder and hopefully implement into your daily schedule if you can. Don’t do these things so you can live to be 101, but do them to improve the quality of your life starting right now!
Don’t be overwhelmed and think just because a 101-year-old can do all these things that you have to do them too. We are all different and experience different things. Listen to your body, and be good to it.