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A Message From the President

Play it Smart: Stay in Shape

Barbara Matteson

We talk a lot in this magazine about the contributions we can make as retired educators fighting for public education. But first we must take good care of ourselves, mind and body.

Every year there are new studies confirming the link between physical health, mental well-being, and cognitive acuity.

While some of us have specific health issues to attend to, we should all strive to maintain a good diet and regular exercise, find spiritual fulfillment, socialize plenty, and challenge ourselves with mental exercises.

In this issue’s cover story, you’ll hear from medical experts on the kinds of activities that promote brain health. First, there’s diet and exercise. No one’s suggesting you need to go to the gym and pump iron—even little routines can make a difference, like parking your car at the far end of the lot or choosing to take the stairs once in a while. Yoga or Tai Chi or walking are wonderful, especially when you engage in them on a regular basis.

And don’t forget dancing. Not only does “cutting the rug” give you a solid workout, it can be highly social (just look at the square-dancing members featured in this month’s Health & Fitness).

And there are “mental workouts” shown to keep our brains firing on all cylinders. Word games, Sudoku, studying a new language, learning to play a musical instrument—any of these activities will help keep you sharp. You can make these social activities, too, by signing up for a class at your local recreation center or community college.

This issue also contains the announcement of this year’s NEA-Retired regional meetings, in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. All NEA-Retired members are invited to attend and participate. We truly are in a unique position to make positive change for public education. Let’s all keep sharp and fit so we can continue to make our mark well into the future.

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