Live Longer, We’ll Show You How

by Lynda Espada, Director of Health and Fitness

Psalms 90:
The span of our life is seventy years, or if we are strong, eighty; yet at best it is toil and sorrow, over in a moment, and then we are gone.


Health and Science Editor of The New York Times and author Barbara Strauch has a new book The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind. In it, she looks at the latest scientific research about the middle-aged brain. And if you are between the ages of 40 and 68, this means your brain. If you’ve ever joked but not really about your early onset of Alzheimer’s when you’ve walked purposefully into a room and then been totally mystified about what your original purpose was in going there in the first place, there is good news.

The latest science tells us that if we keep ourselves healthy, we not only can maintain our brain function, but can actually improve our brains from middle age and beyond. In fact, genetic quirks aside, we can live throughout our lives with pretty sharp brains. Not that you won’t pick up the phone and forget who you meant to call. But other brain attributes of the middle-aged and older brain are not only so much better than anybody ever thought but even better than in the younger brain. We are not losing brain cells, we get to keep them.

What are some of the things you can do to maximize your odds that you are a pristine ager with the brain cells and sharp memory to, forgive me, knock ‘em dead? Well, there’s nothing new under the sun. Eating right makes a difference not just to your body but to your mind. And you need to exercise not just for your body but for your mind. It turns out that your brain really is a muscle much like the heart in that working it makes it better and stronger. The best data is with exercise and across the board they find that if the brain needs anything, it is very much like the heart and it needs blood. The blood needs to be circulated. Your brain needs oxygen. You don’t need to run a marathon, just get your heart pumping and know that your brain, in its own special way, is pumping too.

Come in and talk to our Sport, Fitness and Aquatics staff  about nutrition, exercise, wellness and fitness concerns and plans that will get you on the right track. And consider attending our upcoming June 16 program, How to be Happier and Healthier Until 120 , where Rabbi Jonathan Perlman will teach life lessons from the Jewish tradition about staying engaged, taking risks, forgiving, expressing gratitude, and other values that can grow as we grow older.

Dr. Dorothy Height z”l

“I want to be remembered as someone who used herself and anything she could touch to work for justice and freedom…. I want to be remembered as one who tried.” Dorothy Height

 Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

Dorothy Height died today at age 98. Dr. Height was the longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and the leading female voice of the 1960s civil rights movement. And she was truly, throughout her long and productive life, Eshet Chayil, a woman of valor.

For African Americans, for the Jewish Americans who participated in the struggle for civil rights, for all of us, the civil rights movement was and is a human rights movement.

Dr. Heights’ early international and human relations experiences resulted in her broadening of the NCNW agenda into one of cooperation and collaboration in response to the needs of people both here and throughout the world.  Throughout her long career, she worked with and was honored by many in the Jewish community. In 1965, the National Council of Jewish Women presented her with the John F. Kennedy Memorial Award. She went to Israel to participate in a 12-day study mission sponsored by the Institute on Human Relations of the American Jewish Committee

Since 1988, the Religious Action Center (RAC) has awarded the Civil Rights Leadership Award honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to outstanding leaders in the black and Jewish communities. Dr. Height received the award from RAC honoring her as an individual who has toiled to ensure racial justice in American society and worked to strengthen intergroup relations.

Eshet chayil mi yimtza v’rachok mip’ninim michrah
An accomplished woman, who can find? Her value is far beyond pearls.

Kapah parsah le’ani v’yadeiha shil’chah la’evyon
She extends her hands to the poor, and reaches out her hand to the needy.

Piha patchah v’chochma v’torat chesed al l’shonah
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the lesson of kindness is on her tongue.

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