Senior Living Q & A

Q. Now that the New Year is upon us, do you have any suggestions for “New Year's resolutions” other than the standard: “lose weight, exercise more”?Now that the New Year is upon us, do you have any suggestions for “New Year's resolutions” other than the standard: “lose weight, exercise more”?

— Esther, La Cañada


How about being a little creative? The mission of the YMCA since its founding in 1844 has been about being healthy in spirit, mind and body. This is a common theme we hear nowadays from many sources. Let's focus on ways we can improve our health in each of those areas in the coming year.

First, let's look at our spirit. Spirituality can be defined as a sense of wholeness, a sense of knowingness, a sense of something far greater and more wonderful than what we see in front of us. It is much more than religion.

One way to improve your spirit over the next year is to smile more. Smiling is contagious, spread it around. Another thing to do is “count your blessings.” Each morning when you awake, think of (or thank God for) those things we often take for granted — sunshine or rain, a place to go or the luxury of staying in bed late, just to list a few!

Now, let's look at our mind. It's never too late to learn. I've written in previous columns about how important it is to keep our minds sharp as we age. So, perhaps this is the year you learn to play mah jongg, or take a class in basket weaving. How about learning or re-learning to dance? The Y offers dance classes as do several places in Pasadena. Try Pasadena Ballroom Dance or The Dance Family Studio. They both offer group classes and weekend classes where you not only can dance, but you can make new friends.

Last but not least, is our body. This may not be the year you want to commit to running a marathon, but how about making small increases to the amount of activity you get in a day? Instead of looking for the closest spot in the parking lot, embrace those extra steps you are taking as an improvement to your health. Consider fresh berries as a wonderful treat (and treat yourself often) instead of reaching for sugary sweets.

In other words, look for small and sustainable changes that you can make that will improve your over all quality of life. Choose one or a few and make the commitment to stay with them throughout the year, not just the first two weeks of January. If and when you fail, do not get discouraged — every day is a new day and you can re-commit all over again!

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, 790-0123, ext. 225.

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