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OPINION

Health and Wellness: Healthy aging

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health

There are folks who think Healthy Aging is an oxymoron – that growing older automatically means declining health. Not necessarily. Another misconception is that you can’t change old habits.

It’s true that the longer we’ve done something, the more effort it takes to change, but you can form healthy habits, even later in life. Most of us know what to do; our challenge is moving from knowing to practicing. The key is motivation. What will get you to change?

Start by thinking about what you like and dislike about your current patterns. What do I like about smoking? What part of my smoking do I dislike?  On a scale of one to five, how ready am I to change? You are the only person who gets to answer these questions, and your thoughts and emotions related to the questions are important.

If you are motivated to make a change, consider what a first step could be. For example, stop buying cigarettes, or start going for a walk at the time you typically have a cigarette. If you’re motivated to make a change, you’re halfway there. Make a commitment to replace the old habit with your new healthy behavior and enjoy the benefits.