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Health & Wellness

Vitality: The Secret to a Good Life?

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Look up “vitality” in the dictionary and you may see words like “energy and strength,” “the state of being strong and active,” “power of enduring,” “the capacity to live and develop,” and “physical or mental vigor.”

With those definitions in mind, could vitality be the secret to an engaged and connected life? We asked members of the Get Old community, what vitality means to them. Here’s what some had to say:

Vitality is getting up, no matter what life has thrown your way, with an attitude to re-create again.  It’s trying something new and living the hours with just a bit of 'uncomfortableness' and never settling for what the world says you can't do in your 60's, 70s, 80s or 90s. Vitality is living without boundaries - especially the ones we put on ourselves.

  • Joe Bates, psychiatrist and pediatrician, and author of Making Your Brain Hum: 12 Weeks to a Smarter You

For me, vitality means continuing to push limits. Try new things, don't rest on your laurels, dream new dreams and then pursue those dreams with courage and determination.

One thing that has kept me vital as I get older is finding new passions. For me, that has been running. I was never an athlete. In fact, growing up, I was that kid in gym class who no one wanted on their team. It wasn't until I was 57 that I discovered that I could be good at something athletic.  At 59 I ran my first marathon and now as a 65 year-old vital senior citizen, I’m running ultra-marathons!

All of this has pushed me far beyond what I thought were my natural abilities and has helped me erase those decades of feeling inadequate. That is what vitality looks and feels like to me.

  • Tom Ingrassia, founder and president of The MotivAct Group

At 68 years young, I feel friskier and more vibrant than I ever did in my 30s or 40s. This vitality comes from feeling confident in my own skin.  I’m cobalt blue nail polish-wearing lady who loves to sport an armful of colorful bangles at any given chance.  And after two successful careers — 21 years in the military and close to 30 years in higher education — and a loving marriage that has spanned 45 years, I’m now living my lifelong dream of writing. To me, living your life, your truth, in a way that pleases you is the true meaning of vitality.

  • Carol Gee, author of Random Notes (About Life, Stuff And Finally Learning To Exhale)

Locals in Ecuador, where we retired eight years ago, call the 60-plus era Tercera Edad, which means Third Age. If one's life can be viewed as a three-act play, then the key to vitality is intention and commitment to making that final act a showstopper, regardless of how the first two turned out. There is simply no room for complacency. Knowing that you are vital makes the components of health and happiness — proper diet, sufficient exercise, adequate rest, rich social fabric — a natural part of your daily life.

  • Edd and Cynthia Staton

At the age of 66, I run a moving management service for seniors. We help older adults move, downsize and de-clutter. I work with my crews on most of the jobs. This means hauling packing boxes, standing for up to eight hours while packing and unpacking, and lots of bending, lifting, stretching and walking. I’m much stronger and have more stamina than I did in 2010 when I started the business.  After years of administrative desk work, I’m now healthier and in better shape to go forward into my later years. In short, mental and physical exercise and new opportunities have kept me active and keep me vital.

  • Ann Bass, owner of A Lighter Move; Weaverville, North Carolina

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