Things I Know for Sure About Successful Aging

Oprah knows a lot of things for sure. If you didn't know that, click here. She knows a few things about aging, too (click here). But there are two things I know for sure about aging that aren't on her lists, and they are backed up time and time again by current research.

To age successfully, we need to keep moving and stay connected. Exercise and social connections make a world of difference in how well we live and how long we live.

In his animated video, "23 and 1/2 hours," Dr. Mike Evans asks, "What is the single best thing we can do for our health?" Click on the image above to find out.

Exercise lowers blood pressure, helps maintain a healthy weight, helps heavy individuals to reduce, helps us maintain balance (reducing falls), and helps older adults ward off cancer and diabetes and reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Social interaction reduces your risk for some cancers, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Both physical and social activities reduce your risk for dementia, depression, and heart disease.

The average adult spends more than half of their day sitting or reclining—on average, 15 hours of driving, computer work, eating, and sleeping. And what time we do spend moving doesn’t push our heart and lungs enough to make a difference.

A brisk 30 minute walk each day can make a world of difference—and you get to define "brisk." What's right for one person may be too fast for another, and that's okay. Just move, and keep moving.

In Seattle-King County, we have programs that can help. Some are highlighted in this newsletter:

We also have a beautiful natural environment and lots of opportunities for walking outdoors and in. For inspiration, see Encore, the City of Seattle's web portal for people age 50+ (click here). And if you want tips on starting your own walking group—providing both physical and social activities to keep you healthy—click here.  

For opportunities to stay connected, check out these links on the Aging and Disability Services website:

One more thing I know for sure? Senior centers aren't like the ones your grandparents attended! To learn more, see the interactive map offered by Aging and Disability Services of centers throughout King County (click here) as well as articles in previous issues of AgeWise King County (indexed here).

Friends, make this your new mantra: Keep moving. Stay connected. Now and forever.

Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. Ava welcomes input from readers via e-mail ( as well as applicants for open positions on the council, when they occur. For more information, visit

Photo credit: The photo at the top of this page shows Roberta and Janet, two walkers who completed the Green Lake Loop, courtesy of Sound Steps. For a list of upcoming walks, visit