Story and photo by Alexis Young
When she underwent back surgery a year ago, the doctor told Lois Stromberg to expect at least 12 months for a full recovery. However, only five months after surgery, she was exercising 20 minutes a day and walking more than expected.
Stromberg has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, has had three hip replacements, several broken bones and faced back surgery, all within the last 15 years.
Carrie Hinckley, Stromberg’s daughter, thinks it is remarkable that her mother has little to no pain on a daily basis and hardly ever complains.
Stromberg, 88, believes the solution to no pain and a healthy, long life is “daily exercises, a positive mental attitude, and a support group: your family.” Not your sedentary senior citizen, Stromberg explains word for word the key principles to aging well.
The idea of aging well is for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age by applying choices that improve active, strong and secure lives. As with any sport, if you have a routine and practice it on a daily basis, your game can improve. The same principle can be applied to aging.
“It is within your power to motivate yourself, to exercise and keep practicing by going the extra mile,” Virginia Rhodes, a service coordinator for senior citizens, said.
In Rhodes’ nine years of experience with seniors, she has seen how lifestyle positively affects aging and assists in the avoidance of illness. With the results exercising generates, it is especially beneficial when you plant the center of attention on abdomen exercises.
“It has significantly helped them with their posture, back pain, and getting up from chairs,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes’ career goal is to stay educated with the latest developments to healthy aging. She takes several courses to enhance her knowledge, and is always creating new exercises to keep seniors motivated.
Motivation is certainly one area in which Lois Stromberg is not lacking. Before she even gets out of bed to wander through her home, which has the sensational aroma of fresh coffee, she commits to accomplishing one goal before starting her day. The goal can be anything from dusting, watering her garden, walking to and from her daughter’s house, or when she is in the need of a challenge, changing sheets.
“It gives me the greatest satisfaction to know I can still do it,” Stromberg said.
Directly after completing her goal, her next mission is to get a “full dose” of exercise.
“I reserve at least 20 minutes a day…. It’s what the rehabilitation center recommended after my back surgery.”
Stromberg’s basic reason for staying motivated is the fulfillment she achieves through her accomplishments. In addition, she is always concerned that if she does not continue to be persistent with her goals and positive outlook, she will lose her enthusiasm toward life.
“Having a vibrant mentality can lead to the aspiration of living young at any age,” Stromberg said.
You live a high-quality life, with working joints and a high sense of energy until the day you die. “So aim to feel like you’re 30 even when you’re 80,” Stromberg said. “Staying young involves your emotions and physical health, personal hygiene, close contact with family and friends, and paying close attention to your eating habits.”
Having the energy of an 8-year-old, hardly any wrinkles and being slim as a toothpick, Stromberg’s ambition is to always feel young. In a kitchen that has nothing but an abundance of fruit, vegetables, yogurt and fish, she claims her energy levels skyrocketed when she changed eating habits nearly 10 years ago.
Aside from exercising daily, eating healthy foods and continuing with her goals, Stromberg shares her final secret to aging well. Family, she said, has been the key to motivation, the drive to achieving her accomplishments, the desire to live long and live well. It gave her the will to carry on when her husband died three years ago. The days are now lonesome, and the evenings are unpleasant, but Stromberg said she remains in high spirits. Eager to spend time with her friends and family every day, Stromberg whispered, “If you haven’t got a family, you haven’t got much.”