The Ideal Way to Age Gracefully
Aging is a natural part of life but aging gracefully isn’t a given. Though aging is to be expected, the physical decline that we experience as we get older can have a major impact on our quality of life. Luckily, there are anti-aging strategies to slow the process down.
- Quality Sleep is Essential
Good, quality uninterrupted sleep is one of the pillars of health, along with diet and exercise. When we get sufficient sleep, we tend to eat less, have a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Getting enough sleep can even help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can keep joints healthy and strong. Being sleep deprived makes us more susceptible to physical illness and mental decline.
- Eating Right Will Keep You Young
Proper nutrition as we get older is even more important than it was when we were younger. Our diet doesn’t just supply energy, but it also helps our body systems work properly. If we want strong bones and to maintain lean muscle mass, we must look at what we are eating. When we eat a variety of whole foods full of nutrients, we can prevent chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease as well as boost our natural collagen levels to help our skin look young.
Lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy fats from nuts and seeds are a simple and easy regime. Limit or avoid processed food, fried foods, and anything high in sugar. While eating these foods as an occasional treat is fun, it’s best to consume them only a few times per month.
- Stay Out of The Sun
Some sun exposure is important to help our bodies synthesize vitamin D, but too much exposure will definitely cause wrinkles, age spots and potentially cancer. Sun tans are actually a result of damage caused by sun exposure and accelerate the aging of skin. It’s best to apply sunscreen and wear sunglasses and a hat when we are in the sun and to avoid peak UV hours: 10am-4pm.
- Aerobic Exercise is Crucial for Heart and Lung Health
Aerobic exercise helps maintain and improve cardiovascular health. It also helps to lower your blood pressure, regulate your blood sugar, strengthen the immune system, and maintain a healthy body weight. It’s recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Walking, hiking, biking and swimming are all great aerobic activities. As you improve your stamina, you can start to increase the intensity of your workouts for even better results.
- Resistance Training for Strength and to Maintain Muscle Mass
Our heart and lungs need an aerobic workout, but resistance training is more effective for weight loss and maintenance. Strength training builds muscle, strengthens bones, and improves balance. As we age, it’s natural for us to lose lean muscle mass, but, we can significantly slowdown the rate at which we lose muscle mass with regular resistance training. Keep it simple and stick to bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups and consider substituting resistance bands for dumbbells.
- Yoga for Flexibility and Balance
Yoga reduces stress and anxiety, while also helping to strengthen your muscles, and your heart and lungs. Yoga started out as a spiritual discipline, but in modern times it has become increasingly popular as a means of getting and staying in great shape. As it is a low impact activity, it’s an ideal workout for anyone with tender joints.
- Manage Stress
Stress is a part of life. Between work and family commitments most of us are constantly on the run. Mortgage payments, medical bills, car payments, student loans, all of these are stressors that can make it difficult if not impossible to unwind, but even though it may be tough, relaxation is essential for good health. Stress can lead to anxiety, headaches, chest pain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and can even affect your sex life. How can you manage stress? Meditation, exercise, and practicing surrendering is easier said than done, but makes a significant impact on the quality of your life.
- Talk with Your Doctor Regularly
To ensure that you age gracefully, you must protect your health and one of the best ways to do that is to see your doctor on a regular basis. Plan to check in with your doctor, even when you don’t feel ill. There are several medical conditions where the symptoms don’t show up right away. Your doctor can also help you to manage your weight, watch your cholesterol, and look out for a variety of issues that tend to creep up as we get older.
- Stay Mentally Stimulated
Protecting the mind as we age is equally important to the body. It’s normal to lose a step or two mentally as we get older. You might be a bit more forgetful, or have trouble grasping new concepts right away. In order to stave this cognitive decline off for as long as possible, you need to use your brain. If you want to take your mental challenges to the next level, then you might consider taking a class in a subject you’re interested in or develop a new skill.
Also, make sure you stay in contact with your friends as a healthy and active social life will keep you mentally stimulated and help you maintain a better outlook on life. Even if you aren’t working toward a degree, just keeping your mind active by learning new things can go a long way toward keeping you sharp as you get older.
Aging can’t be avoided but it can be embraced. The secret to aging gracefully is to protect your health and to make good choices about how you treat your body and mind. Make sure to eat right, exercise regularly, stay out of the sun, and don’t let stress get to you. Talk to your doctor regularly and take full advantage of modern medicine to monitor your health. Keep active socially and keep your mind keen by staying mentally stimulated. While it will take a fair amount of work to slow down the aging process, it’s definitely well worth the effort since it will help you to look and feel your best as you age.
About the author
Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.