If there is a fountain of youth, it is figurative and found in the act of lifelong learning.
And simply staying active – mentally, physically, socially, spiritually and creatively – doesn’t hurt, either.
The World Health Organization defines active aging as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.”
When people hear “active aging,” we instantly think of taking up Tai Chi or some form of physical activity to keep our bones and muscles healthy as we grow and age. This is only one slice of the pie. Active aging is about engaging all sides of the self – our social, cultural, spiritual, mental, physical and creative spheres.
Active aging is about living in balance with our human needs and keeping that fire alive for living a life fully. The act of lifelong learning is one of the greatest ways to do that, whether it is learning about a different culture, a language, an art form, a skill that takes you up or down a mountain or how to sit alone in silent meditation.
Currently, I’m actively aging through learning how to dance. Some days I go for the physical movement and aerobic exercise, but most days I feel like I go for my brain. I wondered about this and found an item in Psychology Today, stating that recent studies show how different types of practice allow dancers to blend cerebral and cognitive thought processes with muscle memory to maximize brain function.
The Durango community is fortunate in that we have a plethora of lifelong learning opportunities to keep that fountain of youth flowing for all interests. Some are:
Fort Lewis College’s Life Long Learning series (see series preview this page) and Continuing Education offerings throughout the year.
EMT and Wilderness First Responder certification training for those outdoor medical enthusiasts wanting to learn how to save lives.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters – for learning how to be a mentor and role model as well as making a difference in someone’s life.
Leadership La Plata – training for community leadership.
Learning how to cook for health and community with the Kitchen Koach and nonprofit Cooking Matters.
Medicine Horse Center – for those interested in assisting people in an equine therapeutic process.
Colorado Master Gardner program for folks wanting to better understand the surrounding landscape.
The Dharma Center for learning how to sit still with oneself and better understand compassion and spirituality.
For those wondering about tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and movement, look to Durango Dance, Bella Dance and Dance of the Rockies to explore your body and better understand movement.
Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga Durango.
Care about public lands? Get involved with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness or San Juan Citizens Alliance and learn how to help public agencies monitor public lands.
Here at DAC, we keep the calendar packed with youth and adult arts-education offerings ranging from performing arts and playwriting to painting and printmaking. Stop by or visit our website to check out what keeps you young.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Elsa Jagniecki is the marketing coordinator for the Durango Arts Center.