Healthy Aging

You’re only as old as you feel. Just because you’ve taken a lot of trips around the sun, it doesn’t mean you have to feel like it. Ever seen older folks who seem to be bursting with energy, savoring every second of their golden years, and you’re not sure how they do it? It’s because they’ve refused to subscribe to the notion that getting old means you have to stop enjoying life and be frail. They’re living well, and aging well. By taking preventive measures now, people are living longer, healthier lives. Follow these tips for healthy aging to live life like them.

Stay active-even if you haven’t been active previously, it is never too late to start. Start with regular activity like walking. You can even incorporate things like strength training, using light weights or resistance bands. Aim for 20 minutes of daily activity to live longer and better. Regular exercise has been proven to help maintain weight, boost mood, aid in getting adequate sleep, and for bone and muscle health. Staying active is tantamount to staying young. It’s been documented that older adults who take up exercise later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger contemporaries. If you do experience an injury, see a physical therapist for a rotator cuff injury test.

Eat a healthy diet–good health starts with good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet, complete with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Try to avoid processed foods as much as possible, drink enough water, and focus on whole foods. You can even enjoy a meal out with friends or loved ones as a way to stay connected.

Stay connected–keeping social connections as we age is extremely important. Social interaction can take on several different forms, whether through volunteering, attending support groups, or learning how to video chat with loved ones. By staying connected, you reduce your risk of depression that comes from social isolation often experienced by seniors. Try to spend time with one person per day through regular face to face contact.

Stop smoking–it’s never too late to stop. Did you know that your body begins to recover 20 minutes after you smoke your final cigarette? Your chance of a heart attack goes down right away. In a year, your odds of heart disease drop by half.

Practice preventive medicine-like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure to get a flu shot yearly, and wash your hands frequently to ward off illness. Get your vision checked and get regular checkups with your doctor to stay on top of any developing medical conditions. In addition, adding in calcium and vitamin D supplements can improve bone health, possibly resulting in fewer injuries if you suffer a fall.

Focus on brain health–is there a new subject that excites you? This is the best time to learn a new language, try a new recipe or find a new skill. It can even be as simple as taking a new route to the store or brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. Working on brain health will keep you sharp.

Get enough rest–this one is often easier said than done. Hopefully, as you age, life gets a little less hectic, giving you more time to devote to rest. Work on building a regular bedtime routine, and stick to it. Being sleep deprived can cause brain fog, irritability, and an increased risk of falling, all things that can sideline even the healthiest person.

Have a positive attitude–attitude is everything. People who take a more positive approach have fewer heart attacks and lower incidences of depression. You can learn to change your attitude–focus on gratitude, do good for others, and surround yourself with positive people. Laugh often!

Aging does not have to feel like a death sentence. Follow these tips to start living a healthier life.