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Living Life Fully

  January 07, 2017

Leaders in Their Fields Share Their Wisdom for Aging Gracefully

Aging is changing. The average senior is living longer, adding years and sometimes decades to life expectancy. One expectation of aging hasn’t changed — many still perceive their retirement years as being fraught with declining health and ability, full of infirmity and frailty. Just like a classic automobile, the body and mind too can age but remain timeless with some special care. Below, three Phoenix-area experts share their advice on living longer, better.

Aging Is a Part of Life,but Do We Have to Grow “Old?”

By Chris James

Chris James is the founder and owner of VIMTRIM. Chris has over 20 years of personal training experience and is knowledgeable of nutrition and supplementation. As a trainer, he has helped many people from all walks of life and fitness levels achieve their health and fitness goals. His training style is very articulate and detail oriented, emphasizing proper form to prevent injury and to ensure trainees get the most from their workouts. Chris can be reached at 480- 264-5120, email or visit

You may have heard it said that age is just a number, but the reality is that we are all getting older. When thinking about aging there are several factors to consider:

What we put into our bodies now will affect our wellbeing for years to come. The sooner healthy eating patterns are established, risk factors associated with age-related diseases are dramatically reduced. Eating clean, staying away from processed foods, avoiding preservatives, and reducing sugar intake are all important. Avoid chemical additives! If you can’t pronounce it or you don’t know what it is without a dictionary, don’t eat it.

Our bodies go through many shifts in hormone levels. As a teenager, a hormonal shift causes the body to change from that of a child to that of an adult. Later in life, another more gradual, yet significant change occurs, causing reduced energy levels, hair loss, belly fat accumulation, and a loss of lean muscle. Supplementation, along with hormone replacement therapy, enables people to maintain their hormones at a more youthful level.

Exercise and lifestyle
I hear people say often, “I’m getting old, my metabolism is slowing down.” Actually, the metabolic rate has less to do with age and more to do with activity levels. When I ask the question, “Are you as active now as when you were in high school?” The overwhelming answer is, “no!” Why is this? It’s called life: — we become too busy to stay physically active. I say this all the time, “If you’re too busy to take care of yourself, you’re too busy!” Do something — ride a bike, go for walks, play with your kids, go to the gym — and if you need a kick-start in the right direction, hire a personal trainer!

Family and friends
Ultimately, life is about the people who are in it. It’s been proven that those who have healthy relationships and friendships in their life are happier and tend to live longer!

Artsy Aging, It’s Never Too Late to Be an Artist!

By Tina Ferguson

Tina Ferguson is an artist and the founder of Artsy Smartsy. Artsy Smartsy is in its 7th year of providing art classes in all mediums to seniors of all ages and abilities in order to bring fun, socialization, and creative challenge to seniors in their retired years. Tina volunteers for many senior service organizations, such as the Phoenix Alzheimer’s Foundation and Arizona’s East Valley Committee on Aging. She also speaks to healthcare professionals on the medical benefits of professional arts and aging programs.
Get involved as a participant by checking the Artsy Smartsy Meetup site at, or volunteer by calling Tina at 651-334-3997 or via email at A materials donations list can found at

By 2030, seniors will be 20 percent of the population. The average life expectancy for today’s 65-year-old retired American is 17.7 years for a male and 20.3 years for a female. Both are rising! This is 17 to 20 years that active seniors have to enjoy life, participate in hobbies, travel, volunteer, and so much more.

Many senior communities have been promoting healthy active living by enhancing personal growth, community building and quality of life in each of their residents by embracing these 5 dimensions of wellness: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Educational, Community & Social.

High-quality professional creative art, programs, such as Artsy Smartsy can address all of these areas in just a single two-hour session!

These sessions encourage creative, stimulating mental activities to bring richness to the lives of their students. Classes are fun, social, and enhance seniors’ art skills. Most importantly, they promote self-esteem and meaningful friendships between staff and residents.

Current studies in the fields of art therapy, music therapy, and other creative modalities confirm that art can affect individuals in positive ways by inducing both psychological and physiological healing. According to Barbara Bagan, PhD, ATR-BC, “Creative art pursuits provide older adults with multiple benefits, not the least of which is enhanced cognitive function… making art offers a wide range of health benefits… helping them to realize unique potentials even when suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. We know that, in general, exercising our creative selves enhances quality of life and nurtures overall well-being.”

Artsy Smartsy’s philosophy is based on the studies of Gene Cohen, MD, PhD, director of the Center on Aging, and the first researcher to conduct a national study on seniors and their quality of life. His research on art and aging found that creativity and art help individuals relax, provide a sense of control, reduce depression and anxiety, assist in socialization, encourage playfulness and a sense of humor, improve cognition, offer sensory stimulation, foster a stronger sense of identity, increase self-esteem, nurture spirituality, and reduces boredom.

Health Benefits of Yoga

By Nicole Bruno

Nicole Bruno is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance and completed her yoga teacher training at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ, which included multiple specializations. Nicole has a degree in psychology and social work from Arizona State University. Nicole is devoted to serving and honoring students in their yoga practice, offering gentle and relaxing styles which she also integrates into her dance-fitness classes. Contact Nicole at Innovative Holistic Therapy on the web at, by phone at 480-570-7317, or by email at

Yoga is the union between the mind and body through the breath and a revitalizing way to stay healthy, live longer, and reduce pain and fatigue. Yoga has many health benefits and taps into the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life, with benefits for all ages, shapes, and sizes.

As people age, yoga is especially important to increase muscle tone, prevent cartilage or bone-density loss, and maintains the spine’s natural curvature. Yoga is helpful to the internal organs, bringing them back to homeostasis. It helps to do so by draining the lymph nodes, boosting immunity, increases heart rate and blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and increasing your mood and energy.

There are various types of yoga, from yoga nidra, a slow, relaxed and “sleep-like” or meditation-type practice, to upbeat, high-intensity power yoga, chair yoga, partner yoga, aerial yoga, and acro yoga.
It’s important to know your fitness level and physical limitations before starting a yoga practice. Yoga can be personalized to cater your goals, objectives, and any physical limitations.

Key things to consider when starting a yoga practice include the following:
  • Find a safe and relaxing place to begin your practice, devoid of distractions.
  • Go slow. Learn the basics.
  • Find a supportive partner to practice with.
  • Ask the teacher questions or look up things you don’t understand and always be willing to learn more.
  • Don’t force yourself to move faster or compare yourself to other people at advanced levels.
  • Use modifications and props to help support your poses safely.
  • Remember that yoga is a practice of discipline, dedication, and consistency; not perfection.


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January 07, 2017

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