On July 10th, my mother turned 95. She was born in a tiny town in Ethelbert Manitoba where her family home didn’t have running water or even an indoor toilet. You could say she was made of sterner stuff. She isn’t your typical 95-year old. She lives alone, still, drives a car. She shops alone walks without a walker and has all her original body parts with the addition of a pacemaker to keep her ticker on time.
Yesterday at church, the congregation sang happy birthday to her and gave her a beautiful cake, flowers, and reception. She has been volunteering at the library and church for over twenty years. She is the oldest member of her church. She has a positive attitude and could run circles around most of us until recently.
How can we be healthy into our silver and golden years? We have to begin eating healthy early, but it is never too late to begin. We have to focus on being responsible for our health and personal happiness, and we have to be physically active. So how did she stay so fit, trim and healthy all these years? Here is how:
Eat Your Veggies!
My mother was five years old and one of six orphaned children when her mother died. Her grandmother always had a vegetable garden to feed her hungry family. Till this day my mother continues to eat at least three vegetables each meal with meat in a very small portion. When my mother cooked for our family, we also had a huge vegetable garden. Vegetables were plentiful on our table. Treats and sweets were always homemade but kept to a minimum. Soda was something served on rare occasions rather than a daily diet. Home cooked meals are what our family existed on. Restaurants were something that we didn’t go to except once a year for a very special occasion. My mother always cooked just enough so that we weren’t overeating. Small portions are a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Mow Your Lawn
Walking behind a mower was my mother’s physical activity for many years. My parents had a ride-on mower, but she preferred to get use the push mower as it allowed her to use her muscles and stay active.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t involve alcohol. Though our society has made alcohol the drug of choice and easily available, it is still a drug and highly addictive. Alcohol ages the skin kills brain cells and destroys the liver. My mother was never much of a drinker often getting tipsy from half a glass of wine. Our lungs are meant to expand and be free of toxins. Smoking makes it very challenging to breathe freely.
Avoid Medications If Possible
Neither of my parents took medication for minor headaches or aches. They taught us to steer clear of Advil and other pain relievers as they took a toll on our liver. My mother did take medication for migraines, but the smallest amount possible. If your doctor prescribes a medication, don’t over medicate. Take according to the doctor’s orders.
Read and Learn
My mother reads six books a week and does a daily crossword and word puzzle. Most of us don’t have as much time on their hands as my mother does, but you get the idea. Don’t let your brain turn to mush, keep learning and expanding. We are happiest when we are learning new things.
My mother has never had a mammogram. She is positive she won’t get cancer! Cancer might be afraid of her; I can’t be sure. She talks of health and vitality rather than focusing on being sick. She has overcome a lot in her lifetime, her attitude of “I CAN DO IT is what has given her the fuel to keep going. My mother is determined to live beyond 100, and she’ll probably do it with her strong positive attitude.