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Welcome to the UC Berkeley Retirees' Living Well Website and Wellness Challenge

The UC Berkeley Retirement Center and Health*Matters, UCB’s wellness program for faculty and staff, are collaborating on the UC Berkeley Retirees' Living Well initiative. Berkeley has integrated the resources of the UC Living Well health assessment tools and coaching program, campus resources, and the UC Davis wellness challenge to help retirees make wellness a priority. The initiative has three major components: 1) raising awareness for knowing your numbers 2) promoting completion of the Health Assessment and 3) taking action. Knowing your numbers will encourage retirees to learn their key health indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index. 

With this information in hand, retirees can complete the free health assessment offered by UC Living Well (called the Total Health Profile) to learn more about their health risks and to identify next steps in managing their health.

I. UCB Wellness Challenge

Adopt at least one new healthy habit from the list below and keep it up for 100 days.

Almost everyone looks forward to the carefree days of retirement, when you finally have time to enjoy your favorite activities. Most of us anticipate a meaningful retirement, and hope to live well as we live long. But the sad reality is that 80% of older Americans today have at least one chronic condition that affects their ability to lead an active life. Three behaviors—poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking—are the primary causes of the nation’s leading chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Changing any of these behaviors greatly reduces your risk of developing a chronic disease.

The “Wellness Wheel,” shown here, highlights six different dimensions of life and stresses the importance of Wellness Wheelpaying attention to all six dimensions to achieve optimal health and wellness. We challenge you to choose a habit from these wellness dimensions, and make a change for the better.

If you can adopt a habit for 100 days, it is likely that you can keep it up for a lifetime. But don’t stop with just one change! The more healthy habits you adopt, the better your chances of enjoying retirement free of chronic ailments, and the more likely you are to live well as you live long. Listed below are nearly 100 ideas to get you started. Two additional resources are the Harvard University's Healthy Eating Pyramid and a longevity calculator.

II. Wellness Dimensions & Health Habits

Click on the Wellness Dimensions links below for lists of healthy options:

Community (Environmental) Health Options

Physical Health Habit Options

Intellectual Health Options

Spiritual Health Options

Career (Social) Health Options

Emotional Health Options

III. Know Your Key Health Numbers

Knowing your numbers is one of the best ways to evaluate your health and to provide motivation for managing your health. Even if you feel great and look healthy, you may not know what's going on inside. Many diseases are "silent" and affect your health long before you feel anything wrong. If you can adopt a habit for 100 days, it is likely that you can keep it up for a lifetime. But don’t stop with just one change! The more healthy habits you adopt, the better your chances of enjoying retirement free of chronic ailments, and the more likely you are to live well as you live long. Listed below are nearly 100 ideas to get you started.”

Click here to use interactive, self-assessment tools to learn more about your health and health risks, and discover new resources to help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Remember, these calculators are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any specific health concerns, please contact your primary care provider. Back to top

IV. Health Assessment Resources

Click here to connect to UC Living Well and the resources for retirees.

V. Healthy Habits Tracking Chart

Click here to download a chart to help you track your progress on improving a health habit(s). Printing this also gives you a handy copy of the Health Habit Options list. Back to top

VI. Other Resources

Berkeley Wellness

Since its first issue in 1984, the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter has been read by millions of subscribers. A monthly print newsletter, it has been rated No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report, the Baltimore Sun, Money Magazine, and the Washington Post, for its “brisk,” “reasoned” coverage of health issues.

In February 2013, BerkeleyWellness.com was launched, bringing the wealth of the newsletter's editorial content to the web. The site relies on the expertise of the School of Public Health and other researchers at UC Berkeley, as well as other top scientists from around the world. It translates this leading-edge research into practical advice for daily living—at home, at work, while exercising and in the market or health-food store. Rather than simply reporting quick health stories of the day, BerkeleyWellness.com puts the news in perspective and evaluates it.

The leading online resource for evidence-based wellness information, BerkeleyWellness.com is a collaboration between the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, and a national team of writers and editors. It features articles from the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter as well as original content and updates.

For both BerkeleyWellness.com and the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, our editors constantly review the latest research to give you the edge in your quest to live the best life you can. In particular, we clarify the often conflicting and superficial health information presented by the popular media. We don't promote faddish diets or other anecdote-based regimens. Nor do we simply repeat conventional medical advice from mainstream health organizations or pharmaceutical companies.

First-time UC subscribers can receive a special subscription rate for the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter by accessing the online form at https://secure.berkeleywellness.com/subscribe/default1.html.

VII. Your Experience - Your Suggestions

Congratulations on taking action to live well as you live long. Contact us with any suggestions or to tell us about your Wellness Challenge experience. Back to top


Health Habit Options

Physical Health Habit Options

1. Eat five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
2. If you smoke or chew tobacco, quit.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast every day.
4. Limit sugary soft drinks, juices and sports drinks—drink water or tea instead.
5. Eat slowly—chew each bite thoroughly, and put your spoon down between bites.
6. Eat nuts, legumes, and wild fish at least 3-5 times per week.
7. Consume no more than 40 grams of sugar per day.
8. Limit white flour, rice and pasta/substitute whole grain varieties.
9. Eat at home so you can control fat and sugar—limit eating out to 1-2 times per week.
10. Limit consumption of processed foods—eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.
11. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein and whole grains.
12. Limit consumption of fried foods, high-fat foods and any food that contains hydrogenated oils.
13. Brush your teeth at least twice per day, and floss at least once per day.
14. Maintain a healthy weight—if overweight, reduce caloric intake and increase exercise.
15. Improve your posture—stand and sit up straighter.
16. Protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.
17. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1 drink/day (women) and 2 drinks/day (men) if you are under 65 years of age. If you are over 65, you should drink less.
18. Get 30-60 min. of exercise daily—join the ARC & join “Fit For Life” program (for 55+ UC affiliates).
19. Participate in at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise 3-4 times per week.
20. Get enough sleep so that you don’t feel tired.
21. Wear comfortable shoes to protect your feet.

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Career (Social) Health Options

1. Turn off the TV and interact with people.
2. Join a book club—learn while you socialize.
3. Start a blog—make friends on the internet.
4. Cultivate friendships outside of your family.
5. Become active in a club or organization.
6. Volunteer on a regular basis.
7. Attend social gatherings regularly.
8. Talk to strangers.
9. Reach out to a lonely person, and keep up contact.
10. Get to know your neighbors.
11. Host parties for family and friends regularly.
12. Establish family rituals (game night, family walks).
13. Reach out to others when in group situations.
14. Call or write to far-away friends or family.
15. Coach a sport, tutor a child, or mentor a student.
16. Reach out to those you don’t know at work/school.
17. Meet people in a UCB Campus Recreation class.

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Intellectual Health Options

1. Keep your brain sharp by learning/practicing a new skill each day.
2. Play memorization games.
3. Play brain games—crosswords, brain teasers, etc.
4. Play board games such as Scrabble, chess, etc. or card games such as Bridge.
5. Delve into current events.
6. Start a new hobby or take up an old one.
7. Read a classic or challenging book.
8. Engage in a creative endeavor—try a class or access a UC program.
9. Watch or listen to educational programming.
10. Conduct in-depth study of an unfamiliar subject.
11. Do a regular task with your non-dominant hand.
12. Set goals and track your progress on a regular basis.
13. Take a class in an unfamiliar subject.
14. Learn a new language.
15. Visit the library on a regular basis.
16. Attend lectures on topics of interest.

Spiritual Health Options

1. Deepen your existing spiritual or religious commitment or seek out a new tradition.
2. Practice some form of meditation.
3. Learn yoga or Tai chi at the ARC.
4. Read or write something inspirational.
5. Practice forgiveness.
6. Take time to quietly reflect each day, even if it’s just a few minutes before bedtime.
7. Practice being non-judgmental-have an open mind.
8. Increase your interactions with nature.
9. Practice being thankful for what you have.

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Emotional Health Options

1. Just relax do nothing for at least thirty minutes every day.
2. Engage in positive self-talk every day.
3. Use writing as a way to release your thoughts.
4. Surround yourself with healthy, positive people.
5. Don’t hold grudges—focus on the future and not on the past.
6. Smile and laugh often—see the humor in everyday life, and you will be happier.
7. Listen to music to reduce stress and relax.
8. Get a hug/kiss from someone you love every day.
9. Breath deeply with long exhalations to increase your relaxation response.
10. Express emotions in ways that don’t hurt others.
11. If you like animals, get a pet—they give unconditional love.
12. Say “I love you” to someone special every day.
13. Ask for help if you are struggling emotionally.
14. Pamper yourself regularly—take a bath, get a massage at the ARC, go to the spa, take a vacation.
15. Let go of worry…don’t sweat the small stuff.


Community (Environmental) Health Options

1. Create a place for family pictures and heirlooms that shows how you're all connected.
2. Turn off the television, computer, and/or radio and enjoy the quiet for at least one hour each day.
3. Downsize to a small home to increase family togetherness.
4. Stop procrastinating—waiting until the last minute raises stress levels.
5. Find a balance between work time and free time.
6. Make to-do lists and prioritize your tasks.
7. Find ways to make your job challenging and meaningful, or plan to find another job.
8. De-clutter and organize your home or workplace.
9. Go outside for at least 20 minutes every day.
10. Use natural cleaning products.
11. Grow house plants to increase oxygen levels and filter the air.
12. Plant a garden and tend it regularly.
13. Prevent mold and mildew by ventilating areas where moisture builds up.
14. Sleep in complete darkness to keep your biorhythms regulated.
15. Always wear a seatbelt when driving in a vehicle.
16. Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
17. Don’t bring work home with you.
18. Don’t hit the snooze alarm—get up at first ring—those extra minutes just make you groggier. 

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