We’ve all been there before. You wake up one morning, look in the mirror, and wonder “how did I get here?” Whether your issue is related to weight, a health condition, or even just the struggles of insufficient strength or flexibility as you begin to age, at some point most people have this wake up moment and realize that they haven’t done the best job of taking care of themselves.
We can’t turn back the clock on our bodies or our health, and we can’t make up for the mistakes we’ve made in the past. What you can do, however, is take steps right now to put healthy lifestyle habits in place so that from this day forward you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to your health. Here are some of our top tips for healthy aging so you can work to stay healthy as you age.
Tip #1: Keep Your Mind Sharp
While oftentimes cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, many adults over the age of 65 also suffer from cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research has shown that by keeping your brain stimulated, you can slow cognitive decline. Learn a new language, do the daily crossword, take online classes at a local university, learn to play a new instrument, or simply read as much as you can! Whatever you do, use your brain as much as you can to keep it sharp!
Tip #2: Catch Enough Z’s
As we age, many of us think we need less sleep to function, however 7-8 hours is still recommended for optimal health and wellbeing. Lack of sleep in older people can cause issues such as depression, an increase in the risk of falling, and more.
Tip #3: Get (or stay) Active
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain or promote physical and mental wellbeing. Putting more physical activity into your routine can even help to prevent disease or injury, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis. The key is to find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s tennis, golf, dancing, riding a bike, walking in nature, swimming, or group exercise classes. Talk to your doctor about which activity is right for you and then work on finding an accountability buddy to help you stick to your goals!
Tip #4: Eat Right
Taking on additional fat and sodium can lead to hypertension or heart disease in many older adults. Replacing those processed foods that are high in sodium and fat with nutrient-rich natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help you keep your energy levels up and also work to fight disease.
Tip #5: Maintain Strong Relationships
Keeping and promoting strong friendships and relationships with relatives can keep you from feeling lonely as you age. Many older people live alone, especially after they’ve suffered the loss of a longtime partner, and the loneliness can take a toll on your overall health and wellbeing. Having a strong support system can reduce the effects of aging.
Tip #6: Find Time to Destress
Self-care isn’t just for young people! Older generations can also benefit from taking the time to relax and destress, whether it’s with a good book, a good friend, yoga or meditation. Stress has been linked to memory loss with older people, so it’s important to prioritize your relaxation time.
Aging doesn’t have to be a burden! By taking the proper steps to ensure you are keeping yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy while aging, you can work to slow the negative effects of getting older.