Joyful aging, where age becomes a testament to embracing life’s ups and downs!
We’ll delve into the experiences of Lori, a spirited 57-year-old, who is aging with a blend of yoga, sexual fulfillment, and laughter.
Read on for some inspiration on active aging in this segment of the Defying Age Spotlight!
I am an accountant employed by a non-profit organization, and my two daughters, aged 18 and 21, hold immense importance in my life.
Staying active is now a central part of my life, but it wasn’t always the case.
I battled severe anxiety and depression for three decades, during which physical activity was absent from my routine.
When I was around 50, I had an awakening! I was recently divorced, and coming out of a pretty traumatic time in my life.
It was a new chapter for me. I had to rediscover what I liked, and what I wanted my life to look like.
Rediscovering the Joy of Play
I stumbled upon AcroYoga at the suggestion of a friend. It felt so freeing!
I remember I just laughed, and it helped me breathe.
What could be more beneficial for joyful aging than laughter?
Acroyoga looks pretty overwhelming at first glance, but it does not require a great deal of strength. It’s physics, trust, and communication.
I loved that they called it “playing”. The idea of playing as an adult felt amazing to me.
We should all be playing!
Yoga became part of my life several months after that first AcroYoga class.
I could not touch my toes, and now I can get my elbows to my toes!
My yoga practice helped me increase my flexibility and mobility in my joints.
Various Physical Activites
Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga (SUP Yoga) quickly became a passion of mine! I love water and yoga, so it’s a perfect combination for me!
Body Pump, a weight lifting class at my local gym, is something I do about twice a week.
I also love hiking in nature and waterfalls!
Sexual Fulfillment & Joyful Aging
I am experiencing sex on a whole different level!
Sex feels less constrictive and more about just feeling good. I feel more confident in myself and my body as I age!
Finding enjoyment in sex has been healing for me. Being able to feel and communicate with someone in this intimate way is amazing!
I am having sex regularly, and am not experiencing the symptoms of menopause.
Based on conversations with my friends, I can’t help but think the two may be related.
Exploring the Connection: Research on Sex and Aging
A 2020 study, Age of Natural Menopause: results from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, appears to support Lori’s experience of delayed menopause.
The study above found that women who reported having sex weekly during the study period were 28% less likely to experience menopause than women who had sex less than monthly.
Healthy Aging Benefits of Sex
Sexual activity may also have additional healthy aging benefits.
A 2019 study, “Sexual Activity is Associated with Greater Enjoyment in Older Adults“, is among the first studies to show that well-being is higher among older adults when they are sexually active.
This study indicated men and women who reported any sexual activity in the past year had significantly higher mean enjoyment of life scores compared with those who were not sexually active.
Further research is needed to confirm an association between sexual activity and well-being, along with delayed menopause.
Finding Motivation: What Drives Me
I believe you need to find an exercise or an activity that you enjoy to stay motivated. I focus on the activities that make me happy.
My health is also a motivator. People my age are struggling with different health issues, including obesity.
I was overweight for about 20 years, and I don’t want that to be part of my life anymore!
Adapting to Change: Learning to Pivot
COVID and a recent health issue prevented me from doing group activities. This made me think about what I could do on my own.
I started exploring running, biking, wakeboarding, and practicing individual yoga. I learned to pivot when presented with obstacles!
Future Health Goals
Sleep has always been difficult for me and I continue to work on it.
I wish I could say I focus on my diet! I know fruits and vegetables are most important, and I avoid junk food and soda.
However, when I finish a workout, all I want is pasta!
Another goal I have is to be even more active than I am now!
Advice for Prioritizing Health
Choose one step at a time! It might just be taking a shower.
Or maybe it’s walking to the mailbox or the park. You don’t have to have these gigantic health goals to improve!
Laugh, find something you enjoy, and be grateful for what you have in life!
More Joyful Aging Ahead
I haven’t given being an empty nester a lot of time to marinate yet. It’ll be a new chapter for sure!
For many of us, our whole lives have been wrapped around our kids. Now all of a sudden they’re grown, and what are we left with?
That’ll be an interesting change, and I am not sure what that will look like yet.
If I can’t do the activities I do now, then I’ll need to find something new.
I’ll have to pivot, which I seem to be learning how to do quite well!
Did you enjoy Lori’s story? Check out Margaret, a 90-year-old who is defying age!
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Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management. She has 20+ years of nutrition experience working in a variety of healthcare settings. Her passion is to provide evidence-based nutrition information that supports vitality and longevity!