A Healthy Lifestyle: 5 Ways to Improve Your Health as You Age

Ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Growing older is a natural part of life. For many years, people have associated aging with degeneration and disease. That does not have to be the case, however. In fact, scientific research in the aging field shows that adding preventative strategies and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you manage your overall wellbeing and grow older gracefully. So what should you be doing to encourage a long and healthy lifestyle? 

healthy lifestyle

1. Devote Time to Relationships

Loneliness is a major factor in the physical, emotional and cognitive decline of older adults. It increases your chance of developing several chronic health conditions and raises your risk of mortality by almost a third. That is why cultivating strong relationships and staying involved and active in your community are so helpful in helping you maintain health as you age. Prioritize social engagement. Make a regular lunch date with friends, join a senior center, enroll in an exercise program or volunteer with an organization that is meaningful to you. 

Of course, you can be surrounded by people and not feel lonely, just like you can be alone and still stay connected through alternative means. Even if you can’t get out of the house, there are programs to combat loneliness. Inquire at the senior services agency in your area about registering for meals on wheels or a similar program. If you don’t need the food, they may offer alternatives that focus on companionship instead of nutritional needs. 

 2. Stay Physically Active

There is an exercise principle that is often referred to as the “use it or lose it.” It basically states that, if you don’t use muscles or skills for any length of time, you will lose strength and ability. The less active you are, the quicker declines will become evident. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to maintain your health. It provides cardiovascular benefits, assists in weight management and is weight-bearing, so it strengthens bones, muscles and connective tissue. 

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Many people will shy away for exercise because they are in pain or fear an injury. Swimming is a great activity for people who are overweight or living with arthritis or other degenerative disorders. Fitness centers may have pools available to members and some hotels have been known to rent them out for community use during off-peak times. If you prefer to exercise at home, talk to pool builders in Houston who can help you design a backyard pool you will enjoy for years to come. 

3. Exercise Your Mind

Your brain isn’t technically a muscle, but it does need to exercise to stay in top shape. Join a book club or play word and math games to keep your mind sharp. Is there something you’ve always wanted to know how to do, but haven’t had a chance to learn yet? Now is a great time to do it. Many colleges allow seniors to audit classes for free, which is a great option if you want the knowledge and don’t need the degree at the end. Plus, technology makes it easier than ever to learn a new skill. Sign up for one of the many free online courses that are available. 

4. Practice Self Care

Take time to care for and pamper yourself a little. Learn stress reduction strategies like mindful meditation and tai chi to improve your overall physical and emotional well being. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Limit your exposure to tobacco and cigarette smoke. These little things all add up to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

5. Eat Healthy Foods

Your nutritional needs change with age. For one, calorie requirements generally decline. Some of this is due to decreased activity, but how your body metabolizes also plays a role. Try to focus on whole, unprocessed foods that are nutrient-dense. Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets are consistently ranked as two of the best diets for healthy eating. They are easy to follow and focus on plant-based nutrition. Add a high-quality multivitamin if you have concerns about the quality of your diet. 

The choices you make play a large role in determining your quality of life as you age. Make the best ones you can by staying active and engaged, eating right and taking care of your whole self. 

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Article Author Details

Kevin Gardner

Kevin Gardner loves writing about technology and the impact it has on our lives, especially within businesses.