A Place for Mom

Best Tips on How to Age Excellently

Tracey Fitzgerald
By Tracey FitzgeraldSeptember 30, 2014

Joan Lunden’s Camp Reveille offers attendees four days and three nights to “try new things,” “discover new inspiration” and “escape from hectic life.”  A Place for Mom’s Director of Communications, Tracey Fitzgerald, brought back the following tips from the panel discussion, “Age Excellently.” 

Joan Lunden has dedicated her career to educating people on important health and wellness topics. When she leads a discussion, you can bet the audience is hanging on every word and taking copious notes.

That’s exactly what happened this year when Joan invited four experts to join her at Camp Reveille to speak to attendees about healthy aging. Aptly named “Age Excellently,” the session encouraged women to make caring for themselves a guilt-free priority.

Advice from Joan Lunden

Joan and her guests recognized the responsibility and stress that most women take on as they juggle taking care of their home, family and work. Caregiving for others, such as aging parents, adds additional layers of complexity and time commitment. No matter how you divvy it up, women take on a lot.

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Joan Lunden Quote

The advice from Joan and her guest speakers was fairly simple — exercise and eat well. Both efforts fuel a healthy body and mind, which in turn helps you stay physically and emotionally strong. The group also acknowledged that these four small words can sound really big and daunting, often eliciting an emotional reaction—anxiety, fear, guilt or unhappiness—because people immediately turn the focus to weight loss. Dr. Robert Zembroski, Director of the Darien Center for Functional Medicine, says he encourages everyone to “stop associating exercise and eating well with diet and losing weight.”

Expert Tips on Healthy Aging

Photo Credit: Michelle E. Longo

Speaking from personal experience, including her recent fight against breast cancer, Joan passionately told the audience to “keep the focus on being healthy and your mind and body will give you what it needs. A few small changes can make a world of difference for aging well.”

Highlighted below are a few pieces of advice from each of the panelists, intended to inspire women to think about the small changes they can make to earn big health rewards and age excellently.

Beth Bielat: A lifelong practitioner and teacher of Martial Arts, meditation, holistic health and fitness.

  1. Exercise helps your brain and heart stay strong, and can help regulate hormones and stress. It doesn’t take long to get a good, healthy workout at home or at the gym. Just 20-30 minutes is all you need.
  2. Sit back and think about your day. Is there a point in the morning or afternoon where you consistently feel sluggish? It may be your blood sugar is low and you need to eat something, or you need to get moving. Try having an apple or other snack and then going for a quick walk outside. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

Dr. Robert Zembroski: Director of the Darien Center for Functional Medicine; author of “Rebuild with Dr. Z’s Body Composition Diet;” and Joan’s personal nutrition coach.

  1. You have the ability to make a difference in how you age. Only 30% of your health destiny is driven by your genes and 70% is driven by your actions and choices.
  2. Eating three meals a day is not ideal because it causes fluctuations with blood sugar levels. Eating five smaller meals throughout the day, can better regulate your blood sugar and keep you feeling full and energized.
  3. The more color on your plate the better! Bright-colored vegetables are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients. For example, dark purple foods contain antioxidants and other properties that improve your memory, protect against bone loss and act as an anti-inflammatory. So don’t think twice about reaching for blueberries, blackberries, beets, purple cabbage and eggplant.
  4. Be a food detective and read your labels. If you buy packaged goods, look for items that include five or fewer ingredients, and watch out for unnecessary sugar.

Dr. Cheryl Woodson: Geriatrician and author of “To Survive Caregiving; A Daughters Experience, A Doctor’s Advice.”

  1. You deserve to spend the time to invest in yourself. Make that belief a part of your inner dialog.
  2. Think of your body as an engine. Food is the coal, gas or wood that keeps it running. Treat the engine well.
  3. Generate joy! Do something once a day that brings you joy. Just 10 minutes a day makes a difference in your well-being.
  4. Be a smart consumer. Speak up, ask questions and read your food labels. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

Dr. David Coppola: Holistic doctor, chiropractor and author of “The Wisdom of Emotions: Building Genuine Happiness and Finding Inner Peace.”

  1. Our human bodies are designed to be self-healing. The fact is, when we are in balance physically, bio-chemically and emotionally, we heal.
  2. Believe in yourself and your power to make changes where you need them. Self-love is not selfish.
  3. Try to look for the good in everything. A positive attitude goes a long way.

After the Age Excellently session ended, the attendees excitedly turned to each other, talking openly about their age and health, including what they currently do well in taking care of themselves and where they’d like to make small changes. Once again, Joan Lunden left her audience educated and inspired.

What small changes could you make to help you age excellently? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Tracey Fitzgerald
Tracey Fitzgerald
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