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5 Tips for Healthy Aging

Published: March 15, 2024

Today’s seniors are living longer than ever before and want to stay as happy and healthy as long as they can. You can grow older with your body and mind as healthy as they can be. With that in mind, here are five science-based tips to help you do that:

1.  Keep moving:  The NIH Medline Magazine says, “Physical exercise can increase mobility, help prevent falls and fractures, and reduce the risk of some diseases associated with aging. It can also give the brain a boost, which can help with tasks like processing information, learning new things, paying attention, and solving problems.” Experts say to exercise at least 150 minutes every week at a moderate pace, or 75 minutes at a more vigorous pace. The guidelines also recommend that older adults do muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week. Balance exercises such as tai chi or standing on one foot can help improve coordination while building strength that can reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Get more secrets for staying physically active as you age.

 2.  Eat healthy: A diet that includes plenty of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals keeps your mind and body healthy and may reduce your risk of some age-related illnesses. Research shows that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can reduce your risk of some chronic diseases. A Mediterranean-style diet, which includes nuts, vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and fish, is one example of a heart-healthy diet and may support the ability to think and remember. Keep an eye on portion size and talk to your doctor about how many calories are right for you and your lifestyle.

3.  Maintain your physical health: Making healthy choices, such as not smoking, getting enough sleep, and scheduling regular check-ups contributes to your physical well-being. Alcohol can contribute to health problems, particularly as you get older. If you drink, stick to one drink a day or less, or stop drinking altogether.  A bedtime routine and a regular sleep schedule can help cultivate good sleep hygiene. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you use tobacco, dropping the habit now will help you right away and can add years to your life—even if you’ve been smoking for a long time. Make sure to schedule regular checkups and stay up to date on your health screenings and vaccinations. 

4.  Stay connected: Staying socially active is crucial to happiness later in life. Studies have shown that those with a healthy social life live longer and have better health than those with poor social connections. In The Huron Daily Tribune Dr. Painter, Chief Medical Officer for Humana at Home said, “In our experience, the combination of healthy lifestyle choices and social engagement is critical to people extending their independent living years.” To increase your social connections, visit a friend; take a class at a senior center; join a book club; or volunteer at a local organization.

5.  Engage your brain: Exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body. Activities that regularly challenge your brain keep your mind active and healthy and may help slow down mental decline as you age. You can try learning something new like a different skill, language, or game; spending time on your hobbies‚ such as reading, drawing, painting, or cooking; or working out puzzles, such as crosswords, sudoku, or Wordle

Taking care of your physical and mental health is fundamental to long-term health and happiness. Engage in physical activity, make healthy food choices, exercise your brain, and maintain your social connections to get the most out of each day and appreciate the good life that comes from staying happy and healthy.

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