Yes, genetics plays an important role when it comes to your health, but so do your exercise and diet habits and even your attitude. That doesn’t mean you have to drop all your vices and start training for a marathon, it just means that a few simple practices can have a resounding impact on how you look and feel. Take it from these four Delawareans, who range in age from 49 to 65. Follow their tips and advice to help make the aging process a graceful one.
Mike Cole is the PGA teaching professional at Rock Manor Golf Club in Wilmington.//Photo by Jim Coarse/Moonloop Photography
Hometown: North Wilmington
Exercise routine: I use the treadmill daily at home. I walk a few miles and lift weights three times a week. I am on my feet for work at least eight hours a day, sometimes seven days week.
Diet: I try to watch what I eat. I do a protein shake in the morning then have a normal lunch and dinner. My lunch usually consists of half a sandwich.
Sleep routine: I try to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
How would you describe your attitude/mindset? My attitude is based on something my mother told me when I was a kid: Always be proud of that man you see in the mirror. You have to be happy with what you see in the mirror or you can’t expect others to be happy with you. I’ve learned that if you’re happy, then the opinions of others don’t bother you as much.
What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? I’ve never considered it.
How is aging portrayed in the media and how was it discussed when you were growing up? I was taught that [your elders] are deserving of more respect. I also viewed getting older as getting wiser. I think the media at times portrays aging this way, when they talk about political figures and their experience.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? When my son told me that I was a great dad.
Name something about you that has only gotten better with age. My understanding of how lucky I have been in my life. I’ve been blessed with so many things—my family, my friends and my job opportunities. I took it for granted for a lot of years.
Do you have any go-to skincare products? I use sunscreen on a daily basis: SPF 30 or higher.
Name a desert island must-have. My family and friends.
What is your biggest fear about getting older or something you are most looking forward to as you get older? My biggest fear is not getting older or getting older with poor health. I am most looking forward to quality time with my family and friends. As you get older, you have a little more free time. I don’t think about retirement—I have my dream job and I’ll teach golf until I’m 90 if I can.
What’s your secret to aging gracefully? It’s important to always have goals to reach for, to give your best to your family and friends and to enjoy life.
Dr. Uday Jani
Dr. Uday Jani
Exercise routine: I work out five to six days a week, which includes a mixture of cardio (running, spinning or the elliptical machine) and weight training. In addition, I do yoga and stretch a few days each week.
Diet: My diet is mostly vegetarian—I eat lots of vegetables and fruits, a bit of fish and no red meat. I choose organic as frequently as possible.
Sleep routine: I try and get seven to eight hours each night.
How would you describe your attitude/mindset? Be in the present, be mindful and enjoy the ‘now’ thoroughly. Plan for the future, but don’t overstress or catastrophize about what might happen.
What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? Plastic surgery is still a surgery and for that reason, I believe it should be completely avoided. I’ve seen many complications occur, even with simple procedures. My approach is to cherish one’s natural complexion.
How is aging portrayed in the media and how was it discussed when you were growing up? I think that part of the problem is that too much attention is now paid to the media and other non-experts on aging. At the core of graceful aging is the ability to be comfortable with who you are on the inside and focus on enhancing your inner beauty instead of worrying about each new wrinkle or malady.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? “You set a good example for your kids.” I strive every day to model my values in a concrete way by compassionately caring for my patients, playing an active role in the community, giving freely of both time and money to nonprofit organizations and letting my daughters know that they are unquestionably my life’s proudest achievements.
Name something about you that has only gotten better with age. My health. I’ve worked to lose weight in the time-honored way: with a healthy diet and lots of exercise. Age has also allowed me to better control my emotions, be a better, more compassionate listener and become more selfless.
Do you have any go-to skincare products? Neutrogena Skincare. I cleanse with a mild soap and I also use coconut oil.
Name a desert island must-have. Without a doubt, my family.
What is your biggest fear about getting older or something you are most looking forward to as you get older? I’m concerned about where our society is headed and what the future may look like for my children. At the same time, I truly look forward to practicing medicine at a pivotal time in its amazing history. I believe we’ll continue to see extraordinary advances but always tempered with a genuine recognition of the basics.
What’s your secret to aging gracefully? Stop worrying and embrace happiness.
Monica Dudley//Photo by Gerry Dudley, Germon Enterprises Inc.
Exercise routine: I do three, one-minute exercises daily that include, planks, waist twist and stretch crunches. I also use the stationary bike for 30 minutes at least three times a week. I believe that some type of consistent movement is essential for good health.
Diet: I adhere to a Pescatarian diet (a plant-based diet, with seafood playing a key role). I drink lots of water with a pH level of at least 9.0 and above. Ideally, I have a green protein shake daily. I buy organic and limit my sweets and bread intake.
Sleep routine: I sleep no less than eight hours per night.
How would you describe your attitude/mindset? I am very upbeat and quite optimistic. I live life intentionally, fulfilling my passion and purpose of encouraging young women about life and relationships. I laugh a lot, work hard and play hard.
What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? I personally would not have plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons alone, but whatever a person feels they need to do for themselves to feel good about who they are or to delay the process of aging, I say go for it.
How is aging portrayed in the media and how was it discussed when you were growing up? I feel the media is portraying aging in a more positive light than in previous years with statements like “50 is the new 40” and “40 is the new 30.” Growing up, when I thought about turning 50, I thought, “life is over—pull out the rocker!” But when I turned 50, I felt like I was just getting started. My children were married with their own families and my youngest son started his career after college. At the age of 55, I opened Bella’s YOUnique Bridal Boutique.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? That I do not look old enough to have children in their 30s.
Name something about you that has only gotten better with age. My zest for life and learning the value of friendships.
Do you have any go-to skincare products? Any brand of Organic Coconut Oil, along with coconut, almond or avocado-based soaps.
Name a desert island must-have. Re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show and my Bible.
What is your biggest fear about getting older or something you are most looking forward to as you get older? I am most looking forward to traveling. And, not having to be anywhere if I don’t want to be.
What’s your secret to aging gracefully? Live from the inside out. Happy inside equals happy outside!
â€‹Alexis Andrianopoulos stays fit (and happy) teaching HIIT classes at the local YMCA.//Photo by Jim Coarse/Moonloop Photography
Exercise routine: I run four times per week (approximately 20 miles per week), teach Spinning and HIIT classes once a week and try to lift weights and do yoga whenever possible. My goal for 2018 is to make sure I lift and hit the mat at least once a week. I’d like to do a few triathlons, too. It’s been a few years since I could call myself a triathlete, and I’d like to change that.
Diet: I have always been able to eat whatever I want with few consequences; however, that is changing as I am getting older. I am trying to limit my sugar intake and make more deliberate choices for snacks (nuts instead of candy, for example). It’s hard because I have a wicked sweet tooth!
Sleep routine: I have battled insomnia for over 17 years. I nap whenever it’s appropriate to do so, even if it’s for just 15 minutes because I only get four-five hours of sleep per night with the help of a prescription sleep aid.
How would you describe your attitude/mindset? I try to find humor in most situations. If I can’t find any humor, I try to create it. It’s easy to get bogged down in negativity and worry, so I try to look on the proverbial bright side whenever I can.
What are your thoughts on plastic surgery? As long as it’s done in moderation and looks natural, I don’t object to it.
How is aging portrayed in the media and how was it discussed when you were growing up? My mom really instilled the importance of skincare when I was young. Our conversations focused on “Let’s do whatever we can to combat this inevitable process.” [Aging] is going to happen, but that doesn’t mean you just give up and give in. When we talked about aging, we mostly talked about not acting old but keeping a youthful spirit and taking care of our emotional health as well as physical health. And applying eye cream every day.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received? I’m most pleased when someone describes me as a good person. I try really hard to be one.
Name something about you that has only gotten better with age. Honestly, one of the best things about getting older is learning to let things go and not let every little thing bother me all the time. I was far more self-conscious when I was younger.
Do you have any go-to skincare products? I am a big fan of Dermalogica products. They are pricey but worth it!
Name a desert island must-have. A never-ending supply of fresh water.
What is your biggest fear about getting older or something you are most looking forward to as you get older? My biggest fear about getting older is being betrayed by my body and being limited in what I can do. I ran my second marathon less than two weeks before turning 50, so I would like to stay active well into my 80s and 90s. I have seen what happens when people do not take care of themselves and become sedentary, and it’s not pretty. What I am most looking forward to is growing old with my husband.
What’s your secret to aging gracefully? Do what makes you happy. It sounds simple, but if you think about it, it’s really that easy. For me, that means continuing to work out, spending time with family and friends, spoiling myself with massages and pedicures once in a while, giving back to those who are less fortunate, playing with my pets and doing a good job at work and being proud of what I do, laughing (a lot) with my husband and trying to keep a healthy perspective. Life is too short to be miserable. I choose to be happy.