Six Steps to Healthy Aging

Six simple steps to maintain health, fitness and well-being as you age

The importance of living a  healthy lifestyle

grows as we age.  Many people tend to become a bit lax about taking care of themselves after they retire.  We hear people say after they retire “I don’t know how I had time to work.”  Yet although activities fill the new found hours in the day, few focus their attention on practices that help maintain fitness, health and well being.

By including these simple activities into your day you can begin to create healthy habits that will help maintain health, fitness and well-being.

  1.  Live an active life

Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental well being. Living an active life will help you stay fit enough to maintain your independence to go where you want to and perform your own activities. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and arthritis, to name a few.

The most important thing is to keep moving.

For simple ways to keep moving click here.

 

2. Eat healthy foods

The majority of adults in the US consume more than double the recommended daily allowance of sodium, which can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease; most of this high sodium intake comes from prepackaged foods and restaurants.

Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Avoid sweet, salty, and highly processed foods. Keep in mind that each person has different dietary needs – follow your doctor’s suggestions regarding dietary restrictions.

To learn about 10 Anti-Aging foods to add to  your diet click here

 

3. Get enough sleep

Humans can go longer without food than without sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as younger adults – seven to nine hours per night – but often get much less. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk, and memory problems.

Some techniques to help you get enough sleep are: 1) Develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. 2) Keep your bedroom dark and noise-free— avoid watching television or surfing the internet while in bed. 3) Stay away from caffeine late in the day 4) Practice calming yoga poses and breathing techniques before settling into bed.

4. Reduce stress

As we age, our stressers change and so does our ability to deal with stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression. Stress may also cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. In fact, it is estimated that more than 90% of illness is either caused or complicated by stress.

Although we cannot entirely avoid stressful situations, we can learn better techniques to cope with stress. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods. Talk to a loved one or counselor about your stress, and try some relaxation techniques, such as circular breathing, yoga, or meditation. Remember to always keep things in perspective – try to accept and adapt to the things you cannot control.

5. Exercise your brain

One in eight older adults (aged 65+) in the United States has Alzheimer’s disease, and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline.

Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, read a book. Practice meditation which has been shown to improve mental clarity, concentration and focus.

For more ideas click here.

 

6. Cultivate your relationships

Twenty-eight percent of older adults live alone, and living alone is the strongest risk factor for loneliness. Common life changes in older adulthood, such as retirement, health issues, or the loss of a spouse, may lead to social isolation.

It is important to maintain communication with your family and friends, especially after a significant loss or life change. Schedule regular time to meet with friends and family – over coffee, during a weekly shared meal, or around a common interest. Reach out to friends who might be isolated or feel lonely.