Developing healthy habits in the golden years
Retired firefighter and Castle Pines resident Bill Schaefer believes in healthy nutrition as a way to prevent cancer and other health problems.
Article and photograph by Barbara Neff
For many, the chapters of life that include careers, the building of financial security and child rearing also include lack of time or energy to focus on self. When children leave and careers wind to a close, a real opportunity presents itself.
Developing healthy habits can be difficult after many decades of putting self last while tending to others. Learning to concentrate on diet, exercise, spiritual growth and self care could be called a shift in consciousness, and it can be an enjoyable, even thrilling shift.
Retired firefighter and Castle Pines resident Bill Schaefer developed a strong desire to practice healthy eating habits in middle age as a disease preventative. Good nutrition has become Schaefer’s passion; so much so that he is in the planning stages of launching a business based on alternative healing and nutritional awareness.
When asked about his reasons for becoming an advocate for healthy eating, Schaefer replied, “I wanted to maintain my energy level and avoid being held hostage to big pharma.”
“I wanted to maintain my energy level and avoid being held hostage to big pharma.”
Stories of seniors embarking on amazing journeys of athletic accomplishment abound. Today, 92-year-old Johanna Quaas is a competitive gymnast. Dr. Charles Eugster was a competitive sprinter until the end of his life in 2017 at age 97. While Quaas and Eugster set the senior athletic bar high, their levels of fitness are not and probably should not be the fitness goals for most people. Reaching modest, achievable goals can also be immensely beneficial and rewarding.
Simple steps toward a healthier life make sense for most. Sometimes all that is needed to embark on a healthier lifestyle is awareness, an idea and a modicum of self discipline.
Douglas County residents are fortunate. Fitness opportunities are just outside our front doors. With miles and miles of hiking trails in Douglas County alone, a simple walk in a beautiful, natural setting can be the perfect first step toward a healthier life.
The final decades of life sometimes present voids. One smart way to fill the voids can be new devotion to all forms of self care, including regular fitness routines and healthy eating. It is never too late.