Sunday, November 11, 2007

Age Smart

The following article was written by Harriet Vines, Ph.D., the author of Age Smart. You can view her blog at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported September 12, 2007 that life expectancy rates in the US have reached an all-time high. According to the CDC, Americans are now living longer than ever, with those born in 2005 expected to live for nearly 78 years.

However, as Jonathan Swift observed 300 years ago, "every one desires to live long, but no one would be old." How is that possible? How do you live longer and not 'grow old'? The answer is to take control and age pro-actively. Mental fitness, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, gives you the power to shape the way you age and enjoy your retirement living.

Just as you exercise to strengthen your body's muscles to keep physically fit, you should exercise the muscles of your mind to stay mentally fit. Try this now. Look around you, and see how many red objects small enough to fit in your pocket and blue objects that are too large you can find in two minutes. There, you just strengthened your powers of observation, an important mental muscle.

Here's another fun, effective way to increase circulation to your brain. Name as many objects as you can for each of your initials, or for family members' initials, or for U.S. presidents' initials in two minutes. Next time, name countries. Do simple exercises like these whenever you have a few free minutes – waiting on a line, for the game to start or the light to change….

Your brain's job is to mind your body; your job, mind your brain. Evidence is growing that physical and mental fitness can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. That's worth a few minutes of your time.

You can age the way you want to if you put your mind to it.

Dr. Harriet Vines is the author of Age Smart – How to Age Well, Stay Fit and Be Happy, available at book stores, online and at

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