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September recognized as Healthy Aging Month

September 12, 2012

For more than 15 years, September has been recognized as Healthy Aging Month, and this year its creator is encouraging older adults to improve their well-being in a variety of different ways. Carolyn Worthington, the editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine, says September is the perfect time to focus on the positive aspects of growing older.

Worthington got the idea for Healthy Aging Month just as today's baby boomers were beginning to turn 50. She said that her inspiration came from many of the myths and misconceptions she saw about older adults. In particular, she wanted to draw attention the fact that there is never a bad time to pick up something new, whether it be an exercise regimen or a volunteer program.

"We recognized early on that careful attention to the combination of physical, social, mental and financial fitness was powerful in the pursuit of a positive lifestyle and have built our Healthy Aging programs around that concept for the government and private sector through this annual observance as well as TV specials, videos, books, printed material, our website and blogs," Worthington wrote.

Anybody at a loss for what a healthy lifestyle for seniors entails has plenty of activities to choose from. Exercising is well-known for being an important aspect of overall health, and that is especially true for older adults. Worthington suggests unique activities such as dancing offer considerable benefits, and research seems to back her up.

One 2009 study out of Queen's University Belfast found social dancing programs can help seniors stave off illness and other physical ailments associated with growing old. Aside from the physical benefits, researchers say the social factor provides older adults with a reason to stay active and engaged later in life.