Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday. On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain, and democracy was born. The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people Each year on July 4th, Americans celebrate their freedom and independence.
Independence Day is a day of family celebrations with picnics and barbecues. The activities surrounding this celebration place emphasis on the American tradition of political freedom. Activities affiliated with this day include eating competitions amongst family members and games like baseball, tug-of-war, and water balloon launching. It’s a fun-filled celebration.
Keeping our independence as we age is goal of Americans. Increasing life expectancy has led to higher expectations amongst people to not only live longer, but to live longer with lower levels of morbidity, few years of disability and with a high quality of life. Medical advances are increasingly making longer, healthy life-spans possible.
Each of us can contribute to assuring our own independence by making healthy choices. There are a number of “choices” you make that can enhance your ability to remain independent.
• Choose to make regular exercise a part of your routine. Thirty minutes daily is a good start. Walking may be an exercise you enjoy and is readily available to do outside or in the mall. Find what you enjoy and stick with it. The key is to keep moving. It’s not only essential for overall physical health but also important for your cognitive health.
• Proper balanced nutrition is a key to health as well. Take advantage of the fresh produce throughout the summer. Make good choices about what you are putting in your body. The long-term results are well worth eating all those vegetables and fruits.
• Make the choice to stay involved. The best way to combat isolation, loneliness and depression is to socialize and be around people. Get involved in your community. Visit the art center, attend local concerts or make a personal goal to visit all the parks in your community.
• Keep your mind stimulated. Stay curious about things. Commit yourself to lifelong learning. Enroll in a course at your local adult education center to learn something new.
We live in a country that allows us freedoms. Exercise the freedom of choice when it comes to your health and personal independence.
Information provided by Susan Ray, executive director, The Reserve Urbandale, 2727 82nd Place, Urbandale, 515-727-5927.