We asked Burnaby readers: What are your prescriptions for living well?

The 36 women who comprise ALIVE (All Ladies Interested in Vitality and Energy) don
The 36 women who comprise ALIVE (All Ladies Interested in Vitality and Energy) don't need New Year's resolutions to keep up their fitness routine. The group, with members from 60-91 years of age, has been meeting at Swangard Stadium for 35 years to exercise and socialize no matter the weather and in spite of the cool temperatures.

Earlier this month, the NewsLeader asked some people in Burnaby their philosophy and ideas around living healthy and living well. Here are some of the responses we received:

I believe you are what you eat and I consciously try to know how and where my food is grown/raised. My family eats healthy whole foods and whenever possible I purchase locally grown foods.

Corp. Brenda Gresiuk, Community Programs, Burnaby RCMP

One thing I do every day (usually as I’m driving into work) is list all that I’m grateful for… Here are a few examples from my list this morning… The peace and security I enjoy living in Canada, the snow on the mountains that fills the watersheds and provides fresh, clean water; the colour green on this dull day in January; my job, which affords the lifestyle I currently enjoy; the people I work with who put up with my quirks; my husband who lets me know every day that he loves me no matter what; my Aunt Ada who at 95 still remembers me as a very small child; my health, eyesight and hearing… You get my drift…

This small practice reminds me every day of just how fortunate I truly am. I find I’m in a better frame of mind to start my day, when I start from a place of gratitude.

M. Edel Toner-Rogala, Chief Librarian, Burnaby Public Library

I try to stay healthy by playing soccer, running and swimming year round. In the winter, I also play hockey and ski. I have been active in sports my entire life and I have never smoked. I work full-time but to relax at home, I play guitar and piano.

I believe that productive work and physical fitness are important to a healthy life.

Lee Rankin, former city councillor

Worry is the factor that determines my health the most. The smaller the worry the greater my health. The best solution I found is in lawn bowling, where the focus is on dealing with life as it is rather than as it ought to be.

—John Schwermer

As I have gotten older I have found it important to eat better, get enough sleep, and have a regular exercise routine. The one thing I have found most rewarding is volunteering my time back to the community and working with younger people. I have found that working with younger people challenges my mindset and helps me realize we must be fluid in our thinking and the way we do things.

—Brian Joe, former DPAC chair

Making time for family and friends makes me happy which adds to my well being and social dancing keeps me active and fit. I have recently tried out some Zumba classes too. Working full time, volunteering with Rotary Club and managing a very busy household often leads to an over-committed schedule. I make sure we always have time for family meals together throughout the week and me and my husband cherish our Wednesday date nights.

—Antonia Beck, South Burnaby, Neighbourhood House

Use your creative side to clean up a mess whether it is physical or emotional. We can draw a nice picture or clean our messy garden. Or we can cook to feed the hungry. All these activities can help purify ourselves and clean our environment.

—Helen Hee Soon Chang

When I set goals, I often forget that having enough time is different than having enough energy. I’m learning to be more realistic when planning my schedule. Yes, technically I’m not ‘busy’ this Friday night. However, if I accept an invitation to a party will I enjoy a hike the following morning? When I overcommit to activities, I curse myself later. I promise myself I won’t let this happen again.

—Andrea Noble

Conflict resolution is a key component to healthy living. If something is bothering you, no matter how small or big it is, it has to be resolved in order to move forward and to focus on other things. Unless one is able to analyze and identify the real issue central to the conflict, functioning in day-to-day living is challenging. It is important to stay with the issue, no matter how uncomfortable, until you can get some perspective that lets you to continue with life.

—Baljinder K Narang, Burnaby Board of Education

I park far away from the door of stores, so it encourages me to get a bit of exercise. I’m 81, still have all my hair. I rent two plots in our community garden, and that gives me a lot to do.

—Ray Beaton

Whenever a new staff member arrives at Burnaby detachment, I meet with them as soon as possible to welcome them to our team. A key point I speak about is the importance of being involved in the community. In the RCMP we tend to spend a lot of time dealing with folks in crisis and we need to ensure a positive and healthy balance. Volunteering, getting to know our neighbours and simply enjoying life has  tremendous health benefits.

—Dave Critchley, Chief Sup’t, Burnaby RCMP

A saying I try to live by is “Look for an opportunity in every challenge that comes your way.” It may sound simplistic, but I have been able to find some positive in, or create something positive from, some very significant challenges.

—Diane Gillis

I spend time with people that make me really laugh out loud, even if I’m the punch line.

—Peter Cech

Two things that help keep me healthy: 1) Walking in Byrne Creek Ravine Park. I can do a 45-minute loop and work up a sweat rambling down, and back up, the ravine. I try to go a few times a week. The babbling creek, the chirping birds, and the wind in the trees cleanse my mind and relieve stress. 2) Participating in my community. Getting out with streamkeepers and putting in sweat equity working on the creek, sharing a few laughs, and learning from others keeps me invigorated.

—Paul Cipywnyk

It seems that inevitably the food I like is either fattening, unhealthy or both. I also try to get enough exercise but again usually fall short of my expectations. I know what to do but find it increasingly difficult to do it.

—Garth Evans, former city councillor

I have managed to drop 28 pounds and feel much better. My knees and hips don’t ache like they did. Smaller portions of food and a little exercise can do wonders.

—Paul McDonell, city councillor

I have been grateful to have my life enriched by a group of 10 lady friends who have met for lunch every month for the last eight years. We share trials and tribulations, but also joys and successes, all with much laughter! I always leave our lunches with a lighter step and the feeling that we each matter.

—Diana Mumford, former school board chair

As well as eating healthy foods and trying to exercise my body and mind, the following points are all part of my philosophy of living.

• Cherish family and friends

• Say, “I love you,” to the people I love

• Give and get lots of hugs

• Enjoy lots of laughter

• never break a confidence

• Do a good deed each day

• Don’t just think compliments and positive comments, say them out loud to family, friends and strangers

• Do volunteer work

• Shake a veteran’s hand, give him/her a Canadian flag, and say, “Thank-you.”

—Ila Appleby

Over the past couple of months, I’ve incorporated running for 30 minutes into my daily routine. My motivation isn’t to lose weight. Rather, the fuel that keeps me going is the feeling of accomplishment I get when I reach new levels of speed, endurance and overall fitness. To those who can’t run, I recommend walking or some other exercise for 30 minutes a day, and don’t look back!

—Harman Pandher, Burnaby Board of Education

I take my dog for lots of walks. Having a dog forces me to go out for walks on those rainy and cold days. I probably wouldn’t leave the house on those nasty weather days. But when I get back from a walk, I feel great physically and mentally.

—Tod Fraser



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