‘Healthy living’ is not just about our physical fitness

Carl Hendrickson

Healthy Living 
By Carl Hendrickson 

Healthy living! What does it mean?

To many the first thing to come to mind is caring for the body. Eating nourishing foods, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, periodic doctor visits.

My wife, a nurse, makes sure that I eat healthy and limit my intake of “junk” food. I go to tai chi twice a week and to classes on strength and balance once a week.

My church opens its activity center for adults to exercise, and I try to get there twice a week and walk. I drink alcohol sparingly and see my doctor at least once a year for a checkup.

Unfortunately, this is not enough. My mother, who lived into her late 90s, was physically healthy except for the last few months of her life.

But for her last decade she suffered from dementia. She found it impossible to recognize or remember relatives or friends.

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This 1972 advertising slogan of the then-United Negro College Fund to publicize efforts to help African Americans obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees and close a persistent gap with other groups in college completion is as true today as it was almost a half century ago. No mind, whether because of race, gender or age, should be wasted.

Health insurers have now recognized this, and more and more attention is being given to how one can keep mind and memory in tip-top shape. My health insurance carrier says that the surefire way to prevent dementia is to mentally engage the brain in stimulating activities. Suggestions are working on puzzles, solving riddles or trying mind teasers.

A suggestion given to improve the memory is to write to-do lists and notes to remember important appointments and tasks. Or keep a calendar with important dates. Learn memory tricks. I learned the Great Lakes by the word “homes.” The lakes are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. I learned in college science the primary colors by the name Roy G Biv – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Composing and writing a monthly column for the Call Newspapers also helps me use my mind in a creative fashion.

Something else that I have found very useful is Toastmasters, an organization to assist people of all ages in improving their communication and creative skills, composing and delivering speeches.

Look into Toastmasters. The program is useful for all age groups.