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Local Support for Healthy Aging

By Michelle Crawford

Getting older is better than the alternative.

Although we can't stop time or the process of aging, we can ensure that we maintain optimal physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being as we grow older. The National Institute on Aging offers tips on doing just that with the infographic above.

Here are some ideas and my favorite local spots to get you started:

1 - Get Moving

The evidence is clear when it comes to physical activity: more is better. That doesn't mean you have to run a marathon or win a body-building competition, though. Simple, daily movement is sufficient to keep your health intact. Spend time outdoors in your garden, on a nature trail, or walking your dog. Try ballroom dancing or hot yoga for more fun ways to move.

2 - Choose Healthy Foods

The healthiest diet is one made up of mostly (or entirely) plants. Check out the community at Chat & Chew or take a class with Debbie at PhytoFit to learn more about healthy eating and food prep. Then stop by your local Publix for all those plant-based ingredients. Don't want to cook? Get your healthy, ready-to-eat, 100% plant-based meals delivered by local makers Cult Legume.

3 - Manage Stress

Stress is often characterized as a bad thing, but it can actually be great for you! Your stress response can motivate you to take positive action towards achieving what matters most in your life. Try to reframe your stress in terms of your values. Journaling, meditation, and a mindfulness practice can all help. My favorite app for stress management is Waking Up (and anyone can get a free account!).

4 - Learn Something New

Check out the numerous workshops and classes offered by the Polk Museum of Art and our Lakeland Public Library. Check out the Corporate College at Polk State College to learn new job skills or try a music lesson at the Lakeland School of Music. Take a class or workshop on gardening and active, outdoor living with the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County.

5 - Go to the Doctor Regularly

Getting regular check-ups can help keep you informed and on track. Make (and keep!) your appointments with our local teams at Lakeland Regional Health and Watson Clinic.

6 - Connect with Family and Friends

Life is only worth living when we do it together. Reach out to your family members and make a point to heal any hurts. Schedule time with friends each week to visit, have fun, and be active together. And consider joining us at Polk Wellness Professionals as we create a community devoted to well-being!


Want more from Michelle?

Follow her here on Instagram or check out her local plant-based food start-up, Cult Legume!

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