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Healthy aging is about promoting and maintaining the functional capacity that allows well-being in old age.
The famous poet, Jonathan Swift, once said, “Everybody wants to live forever, but nobody wants to grow old”.
While amusing, the quote applies to most people. We want the best of life forever and to retain the vigor and exuberance of youth without the aches and wrinkles of old age.
There are maxims like ‘Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter’ or ‘Age is just a number.’
While all this is well and good, there is one truth that no one can deny and that’s the fact that aging is inevitable and no matter how strong your mindset is, your body is going to start showing the signs of aging when the time comes.
Age is inevitable. The decline is optional. With just some extra care and new habits, you’ll age gracefully and be limber and fit well into your senior years.
In this article, we’ll look at several habits that you should adopt so that you stay fit and healthy as you age.
Healthy Aging Tips
Your Diet MUST Change
After the age of forty, many adults notice that they develop chronic aches and pains.
They may develop digestive issues and have problems like acid reflux, constipation, etc. Almost always this is a result of their diet.
Here’s the kicker – you may be eating the same foods but now your body is adversely affected by them.
When you’re young, your body is more resilient. Even if you guzzle down five sodas a day, you’ll be just fine. Your body can handle it.
As you get older, your body gets more responsive. The same sodas may cause your body to develop inflammation or the acidic nature of the drinks will cause indigestion.
That’s why you see so many adults popping antacid tablets to battle their acid reflux. The foods they’re eating is not agreeing with them.
It’s not a new health issue that has popped up. It’s just a more responsive body reacting to the poor diet choices now.
Your eating habits are starting to catch up with you. You must be aware and start making changes.
You’ll also need less food as you get older because your body’s metabolic rate is dropping.
Even with regular exercise, your system is not firing away furiously on all cylinders like it used to. You need to reduce your portion sizes and eat accordingly.
Choose foods that your body agrees with. The key word is awareness. Have a food journal and monitor how your body feels after eating a particular food.
If it feels great, keep the food. If you notice that you have lethargy, bloating, digestive issues, etc. the food that’s causing it needs to be removed from your diet.
Unfortunately, as you age, the list of foods that your body can handle will start to shrink.
Alcohol will have a much more drastic impact on you. Greasy foods may make you queasy and so on.
Listen to how your body feels and tailor your diet according to how it reacts.
The cure to most growing health issues is a proper diet. Be mindful when eating.
Consume more fiber and you may wish to supplement your diet with vitamins and other products that keep you healthy.
Are you drinking enough water throughout the day?Your skin and vital organs need water to function. This is a fact of life and something people ignore in a reckless manner! To avoid being put in a situation where you’re dehydrated, fatigued, and simply sluggish, why not take the time to drink enough water?
One of the best ways of doing this is to make sure to grab a large bottle to carry around with you. This can be a simple water bottle that holds a gallon of water. You can drink this throughout the day and get enough water to maximize your body’s potential.
This is a common problem seen in people of all ages and it’s important to tackle it head-on as soon as you can. Unfortunately, a lot of people assume they’re getting enough water through other beverages/foods but that’s simply not the case. You still need to drink a good amount of water to flush out those bad toxins.
When it comes to healthy aging tips, this is right up there with the most important.
The body needs more lubrication as it ages and water is essential to keep your internal system healthy.
It’ll flush out toxins and keep your joints lubricated. Spinal disc problems and joint pains usually occur when the body is in a constant state of dehydration.
Your spinal discs are hydrophilic in nature and require water to stay healthy.
Without water, they’ll shrink and decay. This is why you’ll see many seniors getting shorter as they age.
While their spinal structure is intact, the thickness of their spinal discs is shrinking and causing them to lose inches in height.
It is crucial that you drink enough water daily to stay healthy.
Focus on Fitness
While the principles of muscle building and physical conditioning do not change despite your age, your focus needs to change.
In your twenties and thirties, you may have challenged yourself to squat the most weight or bench press your maximum.
There’s nothing wrong with that BUT as you get older, structural integrity in your body becomes more important than the size of your muscles.
You’ll need to focus more on stretching exercises to stay limber. Take up yoga or stretching classes so that your body is not rigid and prone to injury. Pilates classes will be great for toning and strengthening your core.
Many people in their forties and above spend tons of time in a kyphotic position which is basically them being hunched over.
This happens when they spent hours bent over a computer or from driving. Their hunched position places stress on the viscera and not only restricts blood circulation but also causes shallow breathing.
Stretch it all out and breathe deeply. Yoga will align your body and fix any muscular imbalances that rear their ugly heads as your body ages.
Besides flexibility training, do engage in resistance training twice a week to prevent muscle atrophy.
Always try to get stronger but maintain good form without jerky movements.
It’s much easier to get injured when you’re older. Put your vanity aside and make your training functional and challenging.
Aim for muscle stimulation and not muscle annihilation. Do two or three sessions of cardio a week.
It could be anything as simple as walking or tough like interval training. It all depends on your level of fitness.
What you want though is to increase your heart rate so that your lungs and heart get a workout.
The cardio will also activate your lymphatic system and help to detox your body and boost your immunity.
The fundamentals are essential when it comes to getting older and aging gracefully.
Burning the candle at both ends will take its toll on you if you keep doing it as you get older.
There is a limit to what the body can handle and with age, that limit drops. You may notice that you need more sleep to feel better and your bedtime starts getting earlier.
Gone are the days when partying at the club was something you looked forward to every weekend.
Now you’re happy to go to bed at 9 pm and sleep a good eight hours. Rest assured that this is normal and beneficial to your body.
The average person doesn’t get enough sleep during the day, which ends up impacting their body. As you get older, it’s important to start sleeping well. Otherwise, your skin, hair, and general health will all start decaying in response.
To do this the right way, you should look to set a proper sleep schedule and aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It’s best to make this a constant habit and aim for continuous sleep instead of breaking it down into smaller naps.
Your body requires time to heal and refresh after a long day going through its daily routine. Anyone that refuses to do this is already fighting an uphill battle.
Healthy aging is all about doing the basics right and sleep is a part of being human.
You have to sleep well or there is going to come a point where you start to feel unwell and everything feels like a chore. Fatigue settles in and everything about your body is going to feel off. Don’t let this happen and make sure to set a sleep schedule as soon as possible!
Find Time for Yourself
Are you often spending time on others?This can be at work for your boss, at home for your spouse/kids, or even outside as a part of a community.
Everyone deserves a bit of time to themselves where they’re able to do nothing but focus on themselves and their needs.
This is a great time to be selfish and simply think about yourself. At least once or twice a week, you should get the opportunity to do this.
It can be something as simple as sitting down and reading a book or going fishing at the local pond. Each person will have different needs but spending time on yourself is one of the best decisions a person can make.
It will give you a burst of energy and youthfulness that’s often missing from a person’s life as they get older. You don’t want to be one of those people! You want to be someone that is still youthful and willing to have a good time whenever they get the opportunity to do so.
Schedule Annual Physicals
It’s always important to head to the family physician for an annual physical.
This can include an in-person assessment of the body, blood test(s), urine tests, and more. All of this is a great way to set a baseline for how your body is doing right now and how it progresses as you get older.
By doing this on an annual basis, you are also able to get out in front of medical problems before they worsen. This is one of the main reasons to go to the physician even if you are healthy to get a feel for how the body is right now in its current state.
This information is pertinent and should never be ignored!
Socialization is another key component of maintaining a vibrant life that’s easy on the body.
Your aging process can be slowed down with the help of socializing. Remember, human beings are social animals and it’s important to remain sociable with others whether it’s family or friends.
A person will start to notice the impact of not socializing if it continues for too long. Just like having a bit of “me time” is important, so is spreading the love by meeting others. It can become difficult for the mind to stay focused if you are unable to enjoy the company of others from time to time.
Of course, you should only meet with those you like and that is going to vary from person to person!
Take Up New Hobbies
Healthy aging is all about moving forward in life and improving yourself.
One of the main issues people have is getting settled into one way of living and then getting bored from it. This is a natural reaction and something people hate dealing with.
However, this is a part of life and it’s important to take up new hobbies whenever you get the opportunity to do so. The idea is to take up a hobby that is going to excite you and is going to push you to do different things.
For some, this can be joining a dance class while others may like the idea of going on hikes at different state parks. Choose what you feel is the best!
Going out into the sun is never a bad thing but it’s also important to put on sunscreen.
The skin can take a pounding out in the sun and it is never good to expose yourself to such conditions. Just like anything else, too much of the sun is bad for the body. You want to keep yourself protected from those UV rays as they will have a negative impact on your health.
Spend Time in Nature
Do you go out enough?A lot of people don’t spend enough time enjoying the beautiful environment around them and all that it has to offer. Whether this means heading down to the beach or taking a hike through the nearby state park, the natural beauty around you should be enjoyed.
You want to spend time in nature to simply ignore the daily stresses of your life and soak up the moment for what it has to offer. So many individuals never get the opportunity to do this and that is the reason for their aggressive aging from a psychological perspective.
Moisturize Your Skin
Your skin is often the first indicator of aging and it is something people are particular about.
You don’t want to see those wrinkles start to appear but sometimes it has a lot to do with your decisions. You don’t want to be the person that doesn’t moisturize their skin because that will come back to haunt you later on in life.
You want to be someone that has a set skin care routine that is followed to a tee! By doing this, you are going to be well on your way towards healthier aging that’s great for your skin.
Visit the Dentist
Your dentist is just as important as your doctor.Aging comes in various forms and for some people, it means aging teeth as well.
You don’t want to let those teeth get to the point where everything starts falling apart and you’re unable to eat the foods that matter most.
In these situations, you want to set up an annual checkup with the dentist to see how the teeth are doing and whether there are cavities to deal with. Plus, you should also make sure to have a good oral care routine such as brushing and flossing.
There are moments where a person needs to be proactive.For example, let’s imagine you are dealing with a situation where there’s a rift at your workplace or at home.
Do you want to let it simmer and become a painful issue? No, you want to take action and make sure to correct the issue as soon as possible for your own well-being.
This is one of the things people don’t do and it starts to chip away at them psychologically. You want to take action and always show a bit of initiative.
Stress is one of the biggest troublemakers in a person’s life and these days it’s only getting worse. People don’t feel good about their lives and always have something to fret about. This can have to do with school, work, or relationships.
However, the goal should be to eliminate these sources of stress whenever you get the opportunity to do so.
Aging is going to become a real problem if you are unable to eliminate stress. The mind can only take so much before it starts to weaken and your stress gets in the way. Always target stress head-on, so you feel better quickly!
Learn To Stay Calm
There are moments in a person’s day where emotions start to pour out.
It can be something as straightforward as another driver cutting you off on the highway. In these situations, you want to learn the beauty of calmness. The more you stress out in these fleeting moments, the more you are going to add to your age.
There is no value in getting angry in situations that are going to be long forgotten after a few days! You want to ignore them and continue on with your life.
This is how your psychological aging will start to slow down and you will feel great all the time!
Accept Your Limitations
This is a big one but it’s an important one. You do not need to push yourself beyond your limits just to keep up with those younger than you.
You have NOTHING to prove. When the young guys at the gym are lifting massive weights, you don’t need to try and outdo them to feel good about yourself.
The same applies to your career. The younger employees who are go-getters may be putting in tons of hours to climb the ladder.
If you try to keep up, you’ll get stressed out and lose your peace.
Do what you can.
Do the best you can… and know that it is more than enough. All your battles that you need to fight are in your own mind.
Do not regret growing older because it’s a privilege denied to many. Aim to live a peaceful and stress-free life.
What’s eating you is just as important as what you eat. Learn to let go of what you can’t change and don’t bother changing what’s unnecessary.
Getting worked up on social media over other people’s political views and debating them is only going to aggravate you… and it’s all pointless.
In the end, you want to think about these healthy aging tips and change your lifestyle for the better. It’s going to take time to implement all of these changes and that’s normal.
However, over time, you are going to find this to be second-nature and something that is a part of who you are! Focus on the future and move toward a healthier aging process that’s in line with your needs as an adult.
You can’t help getting older but you don’t have to get old. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll stay healthy, fit and happy for a long time to come.