September is Healthy Aging Month, and with an active older population, Western North Carolina has become a vibrant retirement mecca. To keep you at your peak both mentally and physically, Mercy Urgent Care Medical Director, Dr. Elizabeth McCarty, offers up advice to remember as you age.
Remember the acronym SEES.
S: Stay Social
- Volunteer – From animal rescue to cleaning up the French Broad to working with children in need, WNC is full of people making a difference. Get out there, meet new and interesting people and give back to your community.
- Learn – An active brain is a healthy brain. Check out Blue Ridge Community College’s catalog of Personal Enrichment classes or a college near you. Learn new languages, computer skills or to paint, sculpt, even blow glass. In addition to learning in the classroom, The River Arts District is home to dozens of working artists in multiple mediums and many of them teach classes.
- Play – You know what they say about all work and no play! With more than 600 games to choose from, try out a board game at Well Played Board Game Café — or, if pinball is more your speed, check out the vintage (and not-so-vintage) games at the Asheville Pinball Museum.
E: Eat Fresh
- Farmers Markets – In WNC, we’re lucky to have abundant places to get local, organic produce — breads, meats, vegetables, cheeses — you name it. Tomato season may be fading away, but pumpkins and apples will show up soon, along with tons of yummy greens. Try shopping at the North Asheville Tailgate Market or the downtown Asheville City Market for local produce and groceries.
- Herbs and Spices – Spice up your life! There are so many great herbs, spices and teas that taste great and address health conditions. The Herbiary or Spice & Tea Merchants of Asheville can help you pick from a wide selection. Stores like EarthFare and Food Matters Market have specialists available to answer any medicinal questions you may have.
- Hike, Walk, Bike – There’s not enough space to list all the options for exercise here in WNC! From biking in Pisgah to waterfalls in DuPont to the gorgeous views of Max Patch, there are ample ways to stay healthy while experiencing the outdoors. Your body will thank you!
- Yoga and Tai Chi – Again, the options are endless in our region. Whatever your needs may be, you’re sure to find a teacher to help you succeed. Asheville Community Yoga even has a pay-as-you-can model. Yoga and tai chi have both been shown to increase overall strength and balance, decrease falls as we age and even provide our bodies with more energy throughout the day.
- Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. It is a vital component of healthy aging. Personally, Dr. McCarty recommends the Calm App paired with SleepPhones, a brand of comfortable headphones in a fleece headband that are perfect to sleep in. She notes they work for her every time!
Though Healthy Aging Month is coming to a close, it’s important to remember the SEES method year-round — keeping you at the height of your game from October to August.