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‘Strengthening your mind and body’

 

Kerry Mossler

As director of the volunteer program at Centra Southside Community Hospital, I see firsthand how staying active as you age positively impacts your overall health. Here are four ways you can get started.

Exercise

Walking is a great activity that requires little equipment. Check out www.everwalk.com. Everwalk is a movement to get Americans up and walking because “sitting is the new smoking,” according to Dr. James Levine.

Everwalk was started by Diane Nyad (she swam from Florida to Cuba at age 64) and Bonnie Stoll (a professional racquetball player). Farmville and the surrounding counties have so many beautiful trails, parks and hikes to enjoy. There is also yoga, which is great for balance and strength. There are affordable classes offered by the YMCA and through Farmville Parks and Recreation and private instructors. It is also important to get in a little cardio, so maybe getting a shelter dog from the Southside SPCA is the answer. You can enjoy their company on walks and caring for something also keeps you young.

Volunteering

Having a purpose is very important especially after retiring. Our hospital has more than 75 volunteers that work at PACE (Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly), in the gift shop, the front desk, transport, the medical center, hospice and other departments.

According to the Independent Sector, the value of a volunteer’s time is $24.14 an hour. (With over 8,000 hours just last year, think of the savings to our local hospital.) Other opportunities for volunteering include Habitat for Humanity, the state park system, the Longwood Center of the Visual Arts, United Way and the school systems. Serve on a nonprofit board. Giving back to others is an important way to feel useful and young.

Eating well

It’s important to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. Choose more vegetables and less meat. Have you heard of our local Buy Fresh Buy Local Chapter? Go to www.buylocalvirginia.org to check out your area. Our Farmer’s Market has plenty of vegetables and fruits for sale, and it is open every Saturday, April-November.

If you are a member of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you can receive twice the produce with your SNAP card. While there, pick some herbs from the Farmville Community Herb Garden.

Kenny’s Health Food Emporium has a great selection of delicious vegan food and smoothies.

Seafood is part of a healthy diet and a great alternative to red meat. Try the fresh fish at Joe’s Seafood, or order fresh local fish at www.virginianaturalfishcompany.com. Buy locally raised meat at Marion’s Bi-Rite or from our farmers. Or, if you are really adventurous, try growing your own vegetables. B&M Greenhouse sells seeds and plants, plus that checks the exercise box too.

Express yourself

Keep a journal. Bullet journaling is a lot of fun, and a great way to stay organized (bulletjournal.com). Your journal may be a work horse calendar type of journal, an artistic journal or a gratitude journal. Read, join the Lions Club or Rotary Club, do a puzzle a day or take an art class at Red Door 104 Art Studio or Mainly Clay.

No matter what you choose to do, strengthening your mind and body is important to feeling younger. It is never too late to get started.

Kerry Mossler is director of marketing at Centra Southside Community Hospital. Her email address is kerry.mossler@centrahealth.com.