House Calls

SUM 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { summer 2018 } 29 Jane Gregorie, 84 At age 62—five years after surviving a battle with breast cancer—Jane signed up for and ran in a Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure. Though she'd never been a runner much less participated in a race, she came in second place in her age group: an accolade that kick-started a hobby she continues to enjoy today. In addition to jogging (she's raced in dozens of 5Ks, 10Ks, and a half marathon), Jane stays active gardening, caring for cattle, and tending to general maintenance on her family's property near Yemassee. "I move my body a lot; I can't sit around doing nothing," she says. In addition to her always-on- the-go lifestyle, she eats a mostly plant-based diet, starting each day with a veggie- and fruit-filled smoothie. "If you don't buy any- thing bad, you can't eat it," notes Jane, who adds that her knack for healthy eating has been largely inspired by her daughter—author, motivational speaker, and wellness guru Dr. Ann Kulze. Lastly, she adds, she's never smoked and isn't a drinker. Jane surrounds herself with family—she raised seven children and has 23 grandchildren—and again, has always made a point to stay busy. She long volunteered with the Junior League of Charleston and St. Philip's Church, and when her children left for college, she started a fabric shop with two friends. Years later, under the lead of her son Harry (who is now president and CEO), that shop turned into GDC Home. HOW SHE STRIVES TO ADD YEARS TO HER LIFE: ... AND LIFE TO HER YEARS: Social Network One of the best ways to improve overall well-being is with rich relationships through work, family, friends, church, and/or community, says Dr. Scott. In fact, studies show that bolstering one's social life pads survival rates by 50 percent, no matter a person's age, gender, or health status. And experts equate the protective effect of strong ties to that of a smoker quitting, a sedentary person getting active, or an obese individual losing weight. "Humans are pack animals," she notes. "We need to belong to part of a tribe." That circle of support doesn't need to be expansive, but it should be close knit and offer uninterrupted face-to-face interaction (i.e., quality over quantity). Such kinship can help ward off feelings of loneliness and depression, increase immune function, and even lower blood pressure. Not sure where to begin? "Try reconnecting with an old friend, invite a coworker to join you for lunch, or seek out hobbyists with similar interests to your own," she suggests. Play Increased socialization often begets another key contributor to vitality—having fun. "Laughter is highly rated for health," says Dr. Scott. "It increases oxygen, boosts immunity, causes the secretion of endorphins, releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress." Society has long recognized the importance of playtime for children—unguided play helps develop creativity and foster emotional, physical, and cognitive strength. In fact, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights recognizes it as a universal right for every child. But as we age—and become weighed down by bills, deadlines, and other responsibilities—it's easy to lose sight of the importance of playing, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as "engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose." However, recent science shows that play continues to fuel imagination, improve problem-solving skills, and boost emotional health throughout our lives. To reap those rewards, regularly carve out room in your schedule for spontaneity and silliness, suggests Dr. Scott. Try your hand at a new sport, see a comedy show at Theatre 99, play with your pets, or challenge the family to a game of charades. Purpose Whether it's caring for children or loved ones, building a meaningful career, practicing your faith, or volunteering your time to a cause you believe in, having a reason to get up in the morning tends to bring about more mornings, say scientists. Psychological Science recently published a survey of more than 6,000 adults; those who reported having a greater purpose were 15 percent less likely to die over the following 14 years than those who couldn't claim a particular direction for their lives. Do some soul-searching to identify the areas of your life that feed your sense of purpose, and consider how much time you devote to them. "You may find that your routine doesn't reflect your biggest passions," says Dr. Scott. And if you're still trying to pinpoint what your unique interests are, consider volunteering. "Look for ways you can serve in your community," she suggests. Not only does volunteering open you up to new experiences and people, giving back is associated with reduced stress and depression, increased life satisfaction, and yes, even a 47-percent lower mortality risk in older adults, notes a study in Psychology and Aging. The odds of making it into the triple digits may be low, with just 0.02 percent of the U.S. population belonging to the 100s club. Still, that's more than 72,000 centenarians. So what do they have in common? The overarching answer seems to be sustainable moderation— when it comes to food, fitness, focus, and friends. In other words, create a healthy, doable game plan that you can stick to throughout the ages, then go enjoy your life. Recurrent depression can reduce a person's life expectancy by seven to 11 years if left untreated, a loss of longevity similar to that of a smoker. (University of Oxford)

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