Keep your Grandparents Young

Is it Zumba at 90 years old, or is it just Grandma showing off her moves to a brand new cd my mother bought her?You can call it what you want, but my 90 year old, soon to be 91 year old grandmother, is one heck of a firecracker. How? She remains active, independent and the most important part-positive! A positive mindset is a healthy body!

When I visited her last week for the holidays, she couldn’t wait to share her new disco cd that my mom bought her.  I highly encourage you to watch the videos below to demonstrate the truth.  When grandma and I get together, we giggle, dance and project a lot of love towards each other.  While I do not take any credit for her state of being, I must say that she has a fabulous system going for her that I must share.  While most people do not have their grandparents around this long, I am fortunate to say that I have learned the following key components to my grandmother’s lifestyle that has kept her around this long and might keep her for over 120 years.  Yup, she might just stick around for a while longer.

Grandma is great because:

1) She never lost her identity.  While retirement happened over 20 years ago, she still talks about her position as an administrator at a major NYC hospital for 36 years.  She carries her badges around and shows me photos of herself and books she assisted physicians in writing.  Her preserved identity allows her to remain in a younger mindset.  While most retired people retire on life, Grandma is forever the boss of a major department and demands respect from everyone around her, or else!

2) She does daily water aerobics.  Ok, not in a swimming pool, but in her very own bathtub.  What this show looks like remains unknown.  However, I know that she lifts her legs, performs arm lifts, and uses the bath water as resistance to keep circulation going in her entire body, while keeping her limbs challenged.  Brilliant I must say!

3) She keeps in close contact with family.  There is plenty of literature out there that proves that folks who live close to family tend to live happier and longer lives.  Happiness comes from a state of togetherness which is very accessible from family and even friends.  I speak with Grandma every day, sometimes 2-3 times a day.  Yup, she is a best friend to me.  She claims that I am her medicine.  That is too sweet.

4) She brushes things off (well, most of the time).  If she has something bottled up, she lets it go and boy oh boy do I want to be out of that line of energy.  Whoo!  But otherwise, Grandma doesn’t take anything too much to heart.  She claims that she will never internalize other people’s problems and anger.  If someone converses with her in a poor manner, she says to herself that they can (kiss her butt!)  Funny and brash, but true and it does work!  As the movie frozen states, “let it go!”

5) She maintains a healthy weight.  As a former overweight individual weighing in at 185 lbs, she decided to change directions about 15 years ago, dropping down to 115 lbs and staying there to this day.  She never gorges herself, but she does treat herself to a cup of ice cream if she feels like it.  She doesn’t do it daily, but she does it.  Heck, at 90 years old, let her enjoy this stuff and perhaps we should follow her lead and earn that ice cream without the guilt.  I am all about it, and it can be done twice a month without a problem.  In my book Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools, I talk about treating yourself approximately 30 days a year to whatever you want.  Thanksgiving is one of the holidays listed.  And guess what?  Yours truly ate whatever she wanted to and didn’t regret a single moment of it.  Back on track you go the very next day.  This is how you avoid weight gain.  You will appreciate healthier eating anyway because when you treat yourself, you feel differently.  Most people ask me, “hey JZ!  Is it normal that I feel like crap after eating that bread from last night’s dinner?”  Yup!  Your body has a comparison to being optimal vs. suboptimal on the days you treat.  But who cares.  You don’t do it regularly.  And for some, you don’t do it at all because being on your “A” game is more important.  For those of you who skip treats, good for you!  JZ is proud!

I hold a lot of respect and high regard for my grandmother for not only her accomplishments, but her terrific state of being at her age. I tell her all the time that she deserves an honorary doctorate of Life.  She has truly mastered the key components to maximizing her potential by optimizing her health!  Go grandma!