CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — The city of St. George has become a thriving community for retirees as our 50-and-over population continues to increase. COVID-19 and other factors have motivated many to move to the city because of its small-town atmosphere and beautiful year-round weather.
Staying healthy is on the minds and in the hearts of the citizenry that occupy this beautiful town. The senior community is a particularly active one, as Dixie State University, Intermountain Healthcare and St. George city officials have discovered.
Forty-one years ago, the Institute for Continued Learning was founded by DSU to offer classes to the retiree community on campus over two semesters each year, from September to April. Since those early days, the institute has continued to offer a dynamic program of courses that stimulate the intellect, the body and the spirit.
Taking that one step further, the Live Long. Live Well. program evolved within the institute to combine the resources of the city of St. George, Intermountain Healthcare and DSU.
This powerful team working cooperatively has created a project to help members of the community live longer and healthier lives. Similar to the Blue Zone projects, the program has created its first health challenge for the 50-and-over contingent.
“I’ve always believed that we could do more to stimulate people’s minds and bodies and increase their opportunities for social engagement. We can improve and extend people’s lives,” said Rob Kramer, director of the Institute for Continued Learning.
The Live Long. Live Well. six-week wellness challenge, which begins Monday, is designed to maintain cognitive skills and physical ability and has a gratitude component for ongoing happiness. Particants can choose any or all three of the following tiers:
Social and emotional
Each day, consider what you are grateful for. First, write down three things that you are grateful for. This sets your mind to be positive and appreciative. Then send three messages of appreciation to three different individuals via text, email, mail or phone.
Research has demonstrated that this is one of the most powerful ways to improve mood, overall happiness and enhance relationships.
Commit to moderate exercise for 30 minutes per day five days a week. Engaging in aerobic exercise is the best way to reduce risk of dementia and keep your body healthy. Also, commit to daily gardening, walking or hiking in nature five times a week.
Not only is vitamin D essential for staying healthy and boosting immune systems, but spending time outdoors reduces blood pressure, stress and depression.
Learn something new. Take a class at DSU through the Institute for Continued Learning or Community Education, with the city of St. George or through Intermountain Healthcare. Learning can also include watching TED presentations online, studying a new language or playing a new instrument. In other words, do whatever stretches your grey matter.
Participants can choose to join the challenge at no cost individually or in a group at the Live Long. Live Well. website. They can also access and submit daily tracking forms on the website. The first 100 to sign up will receive a gift. There will be separate prizes and rewards for individuals and teams, including gift cards from $50-$150 and a popular cooking class for two at Harmons.
“There are so many resources within our city that participants can draw upon,” said David Cordero, communications and marketing director for the city of St. George. “For example, the ‘Inside St. George’ newsletter maintains a calendar with dozens of activities that can be done individually or in a group.”
Find “Inside St. George” on the city’s website. Cordero also highlighted the extensive programs offered at Intermountain Healthcare’s LiVe Well centers throughout Utah, along with Institute for Continued Learning and Community Education courses at DSU.
Joining the six-week wellness challenge will help form a healthy life routine.
“Applying now gives you an opportunity to plan your strategy for the next six weeks,” Kramer said. “As you continue with the practices, you will find yourself feeling stronger, happier and more mentally acute. It’s the best kind of habit you can form for yourself – to live longer and to live well. Join today!”
Written by YVONNE LYNOTT, chair of the marketing committee for the DSU Institute for Continued Learning.
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