Staying Healthy As You Get Older
They say, “age is just a number,” but staying healthy as you age isn’t just about your state of mind. From attitude to eating habits, a few key behaviors can keep your brain and body operating at its highest potential even as the birthday candles start to add up.
We all have bad days, but so much of the way we experience the world depends on our own outlook. While nobody can stay happy all of the time, one of the best ways to boost your health as you age is to cultivate a positive attitude. Studies have shown that negativity can lead to increased stress and a compromised immune system, while cheerful individuals often avoid sickness and can live up to 7.5 years longer than people with a more pessimistic outlook. The best way to maintain optimism as you age is to let go of resentment, guilt, shame, or grief. Surround yourself with people who take a more positive view of the world and their circumstances, and make an effort to redirect anger and other negative emotions.
Study after study connect regular exercise to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. In addition, even people who walk briskly for a half-hour a day maintain mobility and cognitive function well into their golden years. Weight lifting and stretching can also aid with balance, strength, and recovery time. There’s no need to join a fancy gym or embark on a grueling fitness routine. Just a simple walk three to four times a week is a good start. Find activities you enjoy, like dancing, swimming, or yoga, and see if you can find a workout buddy or two for mutual motivation.
So many chronic diseases associated with age can be managed or even prevented with the right diet. Eating healthy foods can help you maintain cognitive function and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. While there are many different diet and nutrition guides available, most research suggests aging adults should try to stick to local proteins, low-fat dairy, and plenty of vegetables. Nuts, green tea, and fish have also been shown to increase life expectancy and improve immunity. Finally, make an effort to avoid processed foods, sugar, and trans-fats. Drink water every day and add a physician-approved multivitamin if possible.
As we age, maintaining friendships can become difficult. Unfortunately, older adults often find themselves isolated and alone, especially as their children grow and start families of their own.
For seniors who live by themselves, it can be easy to feel worthless or useless, which is why cultivating ties with the community is so important. Make an effort to stay connected with old friends whenever possible, and also seek out new opportunities to meet people, including classes, get-togethers, and other social activities.
Thankfully, new technologies are making it easier to stay connected and learn new ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Mobile apps and social media can make it easier to make new friends, while a plethora of online resources can help you find new ways to live your healthiest lifestyle, no matter your age.
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