Laguna Woods Dynamic Red Head
Moving to an age restricted community is not what I thought it would be, it’s better. Part of what I find exciting are the people. Everyday since I moved to Laguna Woods, I meet interesting people and the first day I moved in was no exception.
I remember distinctly meeting this little red head. In spite of being only about 5′ tall, this little fireball Dolores walks over to greet me with a swagger. I knew right then that she was no shrinking violet. When she approached me she did not say hello or welcome, she started teasing me in her thick Russian accent and we bantered back and forth. Within a few minutes we shared the usual neighborly exchange of info about work and family.
Still Engaged and Working Hard
One of the things Dolores shared with me that day was that she wanted to find a job to stay engaged. I was impressed that she wanted to work but I knew the statistics were stacked against her. However, her grit and determination prevailed. Now every morning she has added one more routine to her day. In addition to lifting weights and swimming, she goes to her new job. This spunky retired Laguna Woods resident is back to work for a big box retailer.
Work and Retirement
The reason I wanted to share this story is to illustrate what behavioral scientists have found to be true, that the traditional picture of leaving the workforce entirely and entering retirement at age 65 is no longer a reality for many older people in the United States. Two recent and related studies show that the majority of Americans age 50 or older have stayed in the workforce past age 65 or plan to continue working*. A quarter of those who haven’t yet retired indicate they never will. Interesting enough, 4 in 10 plan to switch career fields in the future. A quarter are also completing job training or additional education.
Fitness and Aging
It makes sense that Dolores is fit enough to work after 65. According to another set of studies, “endurance exercise is the best way to protect the body’s metabolism from the effects of age. It helps keep the heart muscle supple and the arteries flexible, lowers the resting heart rate, and boosts the heart’s peak ability to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues. A related benefit is a fall in blood pressure.”
The list of health benefits of endurance training continues. A Harvard Medical Studies published study shows it reduces body fat, sensitizes the body’s tissues to insulin, and lowers blood sugar levels. Endurance training fight some of the neurological and psychologic-al changes of aging. Endurance exercise boosts mood and improves sleep, countering anxiety and depression. In addition, it improves reflex time and helps stave off age-related memory loss.**
I want to say to Dolores that I respect her and am proud to know such a strong person. Her proactive approach to living and healthy lifestyle make her a good role model.
- ** Exercise and aging: Can you walk away from Father Time?