From the Editor: ‘Super Seniors’ share their secrets to long life | SteamboatToday.com

From the Editor: ‘Super Seniors’ share their secrets to long life

Lisa Schlichtman

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If you hang out in Steamboat Springs for very long, you'll notice the town is full of active senior citizens.

I know dozens of people 75 and older who still ski, mountain bike, lift weights and work out more vigorously than people decades younger than them. These individuals lead full and meaningful lives and their social calendars put mine to shame.

They are involved in local service clubs, they volunteer to assist with community events, they serve on boards, and they take time to enjoy all the incredible events our town has to offer, from live music to opera to symphony to theater. Some live close to family, while others, who don’t have children and grandchildren nearby, create close-knit connections with neighbors and friends that provide them with a network of support.

If you go

FREE “The Blue Zones” book club discussion
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18
Where: Off the Beaten Path, 68 Ninth St.

FREE open house with book spokesman Tony Buettner
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21
Where: Casey’s Pond, 2855 Owl Hoot Trail

The Longevity Project panel and Buettner keynote
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21
Where: Allbright Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College, 1275 Crawford Ave.
Tickets: $25 at bit.ly/longevity2018

Brought to you by Casey’s Pond

Since moving to Steamboat a little over five years ago, I have gotten to know many seniors who have made large contributions to our community over the years and are still part of its progress today. They aren't past their prime, but instead, have found a new gear and are living life to the fullest.

In honor of our booming senior population, the Steamboat Pilot & Today invited readers to nominate Routt County residents ages 75 and older for "Super Senior" recognition, and the response we received was overwhelming. In all, almost 40 seniors were entered in the contest, and after reading the submissions, I'm starting to think the fabled fountain of youth exists somewhere in the Yampa Valley.

These individuals, many of them octogenarians, have lived accomplished lives and are still going strong — some are retired, others are professional volunteers and a few still draw a paycheck.

One gentleman is a ski instructor at age 87, and another man, also in his 80s, puts about 1,500 miles per year on his mountain bike. One woman, age 96, swims five days a week and hosts a Bible study in her home each week, and another woman, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, skis every day in the winter and travels the world doing bike tours.

Today, we are introducing our first set of Super Senior profiles, and we'll be publishing these every Tuesday and Friday leading up to our Longevity Project event Friday, Sept. 21, at the Colorado Mountain College Allbright Auditorium. The event features keynote speaker Tony Buettner, with the Blue Zones team, who will be sharing nine common diet and lifestyle habits that can help people live longer, healthier lives.

After reading "The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer” by Dan Buettner, it was interesting to discover that each of the Super Seniors we'll be featuring over the next few weeks adhere to many of the healthy habits that are found in the world's five Blue Zone communities where a higher percentage of people are more likely to live past 100.

When asked to share their "secrets" to living a long and healthy life, our Super Seniors talk about exercising, eating right, meeting new people, spending time with family and friends, reducing stress and discovering one's purpose — all characteristics of Blue Zones longevity.

I want to thank these Yampa Valley Super Seniors for sharing their secrets with me, and I hope you'll find their stories as interesting and inspiring as I have. I also invite you to read our continuing longevity series on "Aging well in Routt County," which began last week and will publish for the next three Thursdays, and I hope you'll consider joining me at the Longevity Project event Sept. 21 and a "Blue Zones" book discussion Sept. 18 at Off the Beaten Path bookstore.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or 970-871-4221. I look forward to hearing from you.

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LSchlichtman.

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