« Back
12.30.21 | Sage Advice

Resolutions for 2022

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success in a new year is by making a list of resolutions before it starts. This tradition is a powerful way to articulate your values and can hold you accountable for your goals heading into the new year. In case you’re unsure of what to add to your to-do list, here are some resolutions you can take into 2022 to continue championing a vibrant lifestyle.

Start Something You’ve Always Dreamed About

Heading into the new year, make it a priority to make an ambitious dream come true. Not only is it essential to set goals for yourself throughout the new year, but achieving them leads to significantly rewarding experiences. Whether you want to head back to school, discover a new hobby or change career paths, don’t be afraid to take initiative of your life. Fulfilling dreams helps give your life purpose, control and meaning. And, if this isn’t the year to do it, when is?

Put Your Health First

Putting your health first encompasses a variety of choices that you can make throughout the year. It’s important to remember that your body’s health consists of both physical and mental elements. So, while making sure you try to incorporate moderate, regular physical activity into your life along with a variety of nutritious foods, taking care of your mental health is just as important. And, lucky enough, sometimes specific actions will go hand in hand with helping both areas of wellness. 

Live in the Moment

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We believe one of the most significant goals you should have in the new year is to live in the present. To do so, you must focus on the now. A few great ways to do this are by practicing mindfulness, performing meditation or simply performing random acts of kindness in your community.  

We’re thankful to keep learning from the lessons that 2021 has taught us and couldn’t be more excited to see how our resolutions will play out in the upcoming year!

› Back to top
« Back
08.31.21 | Sage Advice

The art of meditation and how you can benefit from it

In today’s fast-paced society, rife with uncertainty and change, devoting time to self-care and introspection is more important than ever. At Sage Collective, we support and encourage participating in spiritual or religious experiences as part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living. Meditating can be one such practice, revealing a sense of discovery and heightened mindfulness. 

What is meditation?

Meditation is an ancient technique used by many for more than 3,500 years; historians have traced its utilization back to the formation of many world religions. The purpose of meditation is to help train oneself in practicing mindfulness while learning to better understand feelings and emotions to create a healthy perspective. 

Meditating can feel uncomfortable and challenging at first, since it uses techniques that may be unfamiliar. However, this ancient tradition can lead to immense personal growth and understanding for those who find their groove in the routine.

Health benefits

Research suggests that meditating can have enormous positive effects on managing symptoms of anxiety and depression and reducing stress. Other conditions that can benefit from meditation include chronic pain, insomnia, high blood pressure and IBS. And while experts have yet to completely understand how meditation works, research clearly demonstrates the holistic impact it has on one’s health and well-being.    

Tips for how to meditate 

  • Get comfortable. Find a place to sit upright with legs crossed instead of laying down, as it can be easy to find yourself falling asleep. However, comfort is key for meditation, so avoid positions that may prove uncomfortable after several minutes.
  • Keep a timer. It can be easy to worry about time as you start meditating; setting a timer for small increments of 5 to 10 minutes of meditation can be an easy way to avoid that. Scheduling a specific time of the day to meditate can also help with consistency — leading to more beneficial results. 
  • Focus on breathing. It can be an easy way to get into the flow of meditation. As you breathe, observe what it feels like as air enters your body and then leaves it. 
  • Be open-minded. As a new experience, it may be hard to empty your mind during meditation. Emotions and feelings that might be uncomfortable may arise, but don’t ignore them; acknowledge their presence and slowly bring your focus back to breathing. 
  • Don’t give up. It’s also important to remember that meditating takes time and practice to build as a habit, and expecting too much too fast can lead to disappointment. Hang in there, and discover just how much of a life-changer meditation can be!

There is no “right way” to meditate — it is a practice meant to be personalized for each individual and will feel different for everyone. For those looking to become more mindful, self-aware and gain better control over feelings such as anxiety and stress, meditation may be the technique for you. 

If the art of meditation interests you, check out the video below. The 10-minute tutorial guides beginners through their first meditation and is narrated by a mindfulness coach and teacher,  John Davisi.

 

A woman sits cross legged with her hands resting on the top of her legs – meditating.
› Back to top
« Back
08.19.21 | Sage Advice

Find the future of efficient workouts in “exercise snacks”

As part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, Sage Collective advocates for moderate and regular physical activity. Developed in pandemic times when it was challenging to find ways to stay active, “exercise snacks” — a new and effective set of movements was born, and has become increasingly popular among older adults. Interestingly, research is demonstrating these snippets of exercise are equally or more effective than traditional workouts!

How to perform exercise snacks

“Exercise snacks” are short bursts of movement anyone can perform throughout the day, allowing people to arrange exercise as their time permits. Because the movements don’t require a fixed or dedicated location to “work out” as we normally define the act of exercising, you can find a host of spaces in your home or office to do squats, sit-ups, walking in place, lunges and more.  

Professor of Kinesiology Dr. Martin Gibala, argues that these brief bursts of exercise throughout the day can trigger the same reaction from our bodies that traditional workouts produce. In his study published by the International Journal of Exercise Science, Gibala and his partners introduced an 11-minute workout consisting of walking and running in place, lunges and other light calisthenics that improve cardiovascular health. One of the many thrilling findings was that the conditioning improved cardiovascular fitness by 7% for those who participated. 

Gibala explains that being rigorous with each movement is fundamental for exercise snacks. It is essential, however, to remember to cater to what works best for your body. 

Sage Collective believes that incorporating exercise snacks into the lives of older adults and anyone looking to fulfill fitness needs can be a fundamental – and easy – way to live vibrantly. That’s why we produced our exercise snack menu based on Dr. Gibala’s workout plan below!

 

A graphic titled "Sage Collective: Exercise Menu" lists eight different "exercise snacks" and times allotted for people to take part in throughout their days.

A graphic titled "Sage Collective: Exercise Menu" lists eight different "exercise snacks" and times allotted for people to take part in throughout their days.
Sage Collective: Exercise Menu
› Back to top
« Back
08.10.21 | Sage Advice

Embracing the cultural process of aging

As we articulate in the Sage Vibrant Living Manifesto, cultural perceptions of aging have an enormous impact on individuals and their communities. As we continue to fight ageism and the traditional American notions of aging that many of us still experience today, we look to the wisdom of others to share new ways of thinking and doing.

Carl Honoré, writer and activist, argues that in order to age better we must feel better about the process. Learning how to age better in a world where aging is presented in a negative frame can be extremely hard, but it only takes a few minutes to change your perspective. In his TED Talk, Honoré explains how to embrace the aging process. Honoré also delves into his method for combating ageist traditions and practices within our lives. Watch below to learn more:

A quote sits on top of an image of two older adults laughing. The quote reads "We need to feel better about aging in order to age better," and is attributed to Carl Honore. The sage logo sits in the bottom right corner.
› Back to top
« Back
07.13.21 | Sage Advice

How to become a “joyspotting” expert

Similar to taking an awe walk, joyspotting is the intentional act of going out into the world to look for things that spark joy in you. While the word may sound unusual, it’s actually amassed quite a cult following – with entire online groups dedicated to sharing in joyspotting (and their subsequent findings) together. Even if you’re not ready to join an online group just yet, find out how to become a joyspotting expert using our tips below.

The Origins of Joyspotting

Joyspotting is a term first coined by Ingrid Fetell Lee. As a designer, Lee began to notice the relationship between one’s surroundings and their mental health. For example: living in a home filled with bright prints and patterns provides an immediate mood booster. Lee knew this was a counterintuitive principle. So often, society tells us not to derive joy from the things that surround us, but from what’s within us.

In contradiction to this view, Lee sheds light on the relationship between our environment and our emotions, and shares inspiration and resources for living a more joyful life through design in her book, The Aesthetics of Joy. She has also created a website dedicated to this viewpoint, that shares the same name. There is also an online Facebook group that we referenced above, The Joyspotters’ Society.

As Lee became more and more tuned into what caused her joy from her surroundings, she began to develop the habit of intentionally seeking out – or looking to consciously observe – these causes of joy. And hence, joyspotting was born. As she says, “The world seemed to be teeming with tiny, joyful surprises. All I had to do was look for them… It was like I had a pair of rose-colored glasses, and now that I knew what to look for, I was seeing it everywhere. It was like these little moments of joy were hidden in plain sight.” Instead of seeing the world around us as beset with distractors, joyspotting is a way of creating a reservoir of positivity.

Twelve Ways of Joyspotting

To become an avid joyspotter is simple. Look around you and determine something that causes you joy. It could be a pair of colorful, patterned socks worn by the man next to you on the train, or the unexpected sidewalk chalk drawings on a walk around the block. But just in case you need a little bit of help getting started, Lee put together The Joyspotter’s Guide, which outlines her twelve tips for joyspotting. Below, we offer a brief description of those tips.

Look up. Joy often comes from things that float or fly in the sky, whether that’s shapes you find in the clouds, or a stray red balloon. Look down. Maybe you discover a rainbow in a puddle, or a vibrant pair of shoes on a passing pair of feet. Keep an eye out for color. What flashes of blue catch your eye? How does an abundance of green transform the environment? Follow the curve. Life is full of hardness, so where do things get soft around the edges?

Go where the wild things are. There’s always joy to be found in nature, whether it’s enjoying the smell of a rosebush, or listening to birdsong. Seek out symmetry. Where there are mirror patterns, there’s often a surprising sensation of randomness or harmony. Search for signs of abundance. Where do things feel lush and full? It could be a fruit bowl on a family member’s kitchen counter, or a few too many Christmas lights at the neighbor’s house. Joy has a way of spilling over. Watch for weirdness. Where are things out of place, or just out of the ordinary? It’s those standout details that often feel most special.

Zoom in. Focus your attention on the tiniest of details. Notice the invisible. What joy surrounds you that can be felt or heard, but not seen? These sightless observations hold a magic of their own. Similarly, use all your senses! And finally, take the scenic route. The paths you wouldn’t normally take often hold the most surprises, and within those, there’s much joy to discover.

 

Photo of man looking through a spotting scope
› Back to top
« Back
07.01.21 | Sage Advice

Vibrant Living Breakdown: Engagement in Social Life

Nine Ways of Vibrant Living is Sage Collective’s innovative model that champions more meaningful, engaged lives for older adults, and that serves as the backbone of our philosophy. We celebrate and uplift components of vibrant living that span from health and wellness, to arts and culture, to spiritual enrichment — but what makes all these life experiences truly shine is our ability to share them with others. That’s why our ninth component is engagement in social life.

Older adults in particular are a population at high risk of experiencing social isolation. The flip side of that risk – and the negative impacts it has on one’s physical and mental well being – means that older adults who are more socially connected often report a better quality of life all around.

The benefits of healthy social connection for older adults are all encompassing and include disease prevention, fewer physical health problems, longevity/length of life, improved cognitive function, better self-esteem, sense of belonging, and maintained purpose of life.

Therefore, at Sage Collective, we strive to provide daily opportunities for social connection and community engagement, whether that’s through our programming or residences. We intend to partner with a host of community organizations, including but not limited to: churches, schools, businesses, and cultural institutions, to provide co-teaching, educational, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities that both enrich and empower our residents.

 

Stay tuned for all these opportunities and more, and in the meantime, you can stay connected with us and our community online through our social media via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Friends gathering to socialize and paint
› Back to top
« Back
06.29.21 | Sage Advice

Harness the power of awe by taking “awe walks”

Vibrant life encompasses a variety of experiences, from healthy eating to regular fitness to engaging with the world around us. One particularly effective – and unusual – way to pursue vibrant living is to take “awe walks.” The end-goal of these walks is simple:  to simply inspire awe in those who participate. Let’s dig in.

How to take awe walks

“Awe walks” are a more intentional way to approach something as simple as a stroll around the block. The idea is to go for a walk and seek to experience awe along the way. How the walker chooses to experience awe is entirely up to them. Awe can be found in even the smallest of everyday moments, such as appreciating the flight path of a v of migrating geese above, or marveling at the many colors that make up fall foliage.

The study of awe – how it’s inspired, and the impact it has on a person’s wellbeing – has been a primary area of focus for psychologists since the early 2000s. Just recently, a 2020 study was published in the journal Emotion examining the impact of awe walks on a population of older adults.

In the study, sixty older adults took 15-minute awe walks for a period of eight weeks. Perhaps the most exciting finding of the study was the increasing feelings of compassion and gratitude in the control group that took such awe walks. Compared to the normal-walk-talking counterparts, the awe walkers were much more focused on observing the world around them.

“One of the key features of awe is that it promotes what we call ‘small self,’ a healthy sense of proportion between your own self and the bigger picture of the world around you,” explained Dr. Virginia Sturm, lead investigator and associate professor of neurology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California at San Francisco.

You can trust the science – or you can just as easily try it out for yourself and see what awe you uncover.

View from above of people taking a walk
› Back to top
« Back
05.27.21 | Sage Advice

Four Ways to Help Maintain Healthy Bones

As we age, bone health becomes increasingly important. Older adults often experience bone loss (low bone density that makes the bones weaker), which leads to increased risk of fractures. Luckily, to help combat this risk, there are habits and behaviors you can adopt to help protect your bone health. Here’s four ways for older adults to help maintain healthy bones:

Include physical activity in your daily routine

Those that are physically inactive are at higher risk of osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle) compared to those that are more physically active. To help promote new bone growth and maintain existing bone density, doctors recommend physical activities, such as strength training and weight bearing exercises. For older adults, this translates to incorporating walking (whether leisurely or at a brisk pace) and using light dumbbells if possible.

Eat high-calcium foods throughout the day

Calcium is the main mineral in your bones, and the most important mineral for bone health. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. Therefore, it’s important to eat high-calcium foods throughout the day. For men ages 51-70, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. That recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older and for men age 71 and older.

Maintain a stable, healthy weight

People who are underweight have a higher risk of developing bone disease, while excess body weight places added stress on a person’s bones. Dieting — and regularly gaining or losing weight — also places undue stress on your bone health. Additionally, low body weight is the main contributing factor for reduced bone density and bone loss in postmenopausal women, due to the loss of the bone-protecting effects of estrogen. This is why the best way to maintain healthy bones is to maintain a stable, healthy weight for your body.

Get plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin K

Vitamin D and Vitamin K are both important when it comes to building strong bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, while Vitamin K-2 aids in reducing calcium loss and helping minerals bind to the bone. You can get Vitamin D with plenty of sunlight exposure, as well as through a diet full of oily fish, mushrooms, eggs and fortified foods, such as milk and cereal. You can get Vitamin K-2 from foods such as dairy products (especially hard cheeses), fermented foods such as sauerkraut, natto (a Japanese soybean product), egg yolks, and chicken. You can also consult your doctor about taking vitamin supplements. 

With the right adjustments to your regular routine, you can help maintain healthy bones and enjoy the perks of a healthier fitness and food regimen. 

A dinner plate with salmon and a vibrant assortment of toppings and seasonings
› Back to top
« Back
02.25.21 | Sage Advice

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai chi is an internal Chinese martial art, practiced for defense training, health benefits and mediation. As one of the most gentle martial art forms, tai chi is a great exercise option for older adults across the health and mobility spectrum — bringing with it a slew of benefits, healthful and otherwise. Let’s take a closer look:

Tai chi

Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan or Tàijí quán (太極拳), is an ancient Chinese martial arts practice, rooted in a deep history and philosophy. (You can read more about that on CultureTrip, here.) According to MayoClinic, tai chi “is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.” The movements emphasize deep breathing, encouraging participants to slow down and get in touch with their body and feelings.

Because tai chi is low-impact, slow-motion and emphasizes the mind-body connection, it’s become a popular practice globally, attracting a broad spectrum of participants. And thanks to its wide array of health benefits, it’s since been adopted as a common practice at hospitals, community centers, older adult facilities and the like.

Health Benefits

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but because its health benefits are so great, Harvard Women’s Health Watch jokingly calls it medication in motion.”

The low-impact exercise boasts physical health benefits such as improved lower- and upper-body strength, improved flexibility, improved balance (and possibly even decreased risk of falling), improved joint pain, enhanced immune system, enhanced quality of sleep, lowered blood pressure and healthy aerobic conditioning (where heart and lungs are trained to pump blood more efficiently, allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles and organs). All of the listed benefits are crucial to older adults seeking to maintain or better their health. 

In addition to its physical health benefits, the meditative aspect of tai chi brings with it an array of mental health benefits. These benefits include decreased stress, anxiety and depression; improved mood, energy and stamina and a general boost to wellness overall. 

Part of the appeal is that tai chi can be practiced independently or within a group setting, and it doesn’t require any equipment. If a low-impact, slow-motion and mindful form of exercise sounds like a good fit for you, then tai chi might just become part of your next fitness regimen routine.

Two people practice tai chi, silhouetted against a night sky and the moon
› Back to top
« Back
10.29.20 | Sage Advice

Vibrant Living Breakdown: Moderate, Regular Physical Activity

We don’t believe in living a passive life; we believe we should be active participants in our own health, wellness and happiness. That’s why Sage Collective created 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, a model that champions high-quality living, and the backbone of our philosophy. Today, we’re unpacking the first of our nine components: moderate, regular physical activity. 

In a recent blog post, we broke down the surprising health benefits of going for a brisk-paced thirty-minute walk each day — and even discovered that going for a walk can have parallel health benefits to going for a run. This goes to show that physical activity doesn’t all have to be intensive, but rather, incorporating moderate, regular activity can prove highly beneficial on its own.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends older adults partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. This activity can include leisurely behaviors such as walking, dancing, gardening, hiking or swimming, or even occupational behaviors such as performing household chores or participating in family and community activities. 

According to Mayo Clinic, the benefits of fulfilling this weekly recommendation include controlling your weight; combatting health conditions and diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety; as well as improving mood and boosting energy levels, promoting better sleep, and even increasing your chances of living longer. 

And the bottom line underscoring it all: incorporating moderate, regular physical activity into your daily life can be fun and enjoyable, especially in social settings. That’s why Sage Collective incorporates physical activity as part of our vision for our residential campus. We know that taking the first step isn’t always easy, and that’s why we’re pursuing more vibrant ways of living together. Together, we can hold one another accountable, encourage healthy behaviors and embark on a collaborative, joyful journey to more vibrant ways of living. 

Senior woman holding gym weights
› Back to top