10 Tips for Aging Gracefully and Well
If You’re Not Aging Gracefully…These Tips Will Definitely Help!
When it comes to aging gracefully, it’s about living your best life, both mentally and physically. There’s much more to aging gracefully than keeping wrinkles away.
by Jon Bender
Following are 10 tips that will help you age gracefully from the inside out, all year round:
1) Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can lower the risk of conditions that include cancer and heart disease. Also, helps you maintain mobility as you age. The National Institute on Aging reported evidence that demonstrates that even those who start to exercise later in life can experience an improvement in heart function. In addition, exercise improves sleep, lowers stress, boosts your mood and supports bone and skin health.
The Department of Health has recommended that older adults focus on exercises. These should include balance training, along with aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises. For example, involving all the major muscle groups at least 3 days a week. Aim for 2 to 5 hours of moderate intensity exercises. Also, 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises a week (or both combined).
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2) Make Age Defying Food Choices
Eating well isn’t just about how much you weigh. It will also help safeguard you from health issues that commonly occur among older adults. Such as, heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and osteoporosis. For example, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you eat:
- Fruits and vegetables (fresh green, leafy vegetables, berries, etc. – fresh or frozen are best)
- Lean protein (beans, fish, skinless chicken breast, low-fat or nonfat dairy, etc.)
- Foods/supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fatty fish, olive oil, etc.)
- Whole-grains (breads, cereals, rice, pasta)
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy, fortified with vitamin D
- Healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, eggs). Stay away from solid fats for cooking and use oils instead.
- Avoid processed foods, unhealthy fats and refined sugars.
- Minimize salt intake (supports lowering your blood pressure).
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3) Aging and the Musculoskeletal System
From around age 30, the bone density starts to diminish in both men and women, increasing in women after menopause. Consequently, bones start to become more fragile and are apt to break, especially as we age. Weight bearing exercises help to strengthen the bones to prevent this decline.
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4) Fight Inflammation
Aging affects the immune response, resulting in a chronic systemic inflammatory status. Chronic inflammation contributes to several age-related natural processes and pathologies in aging tissue, including the musculoskeletal and nervous system. Regular exercise, consuming healthy foods and controlling stress all work together to reduce chronic pain and inflammation.
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5) Take Good Care of Your Skin
The skin is the body’s largest organ. When treated well, the skin regulates body temperature, protects it from the elements and helps provides sensation. According to professor of dermatology, Rox Anderson, MD at Harvard Medical School, as we get older, skin loses elasticity and the ability to snap back to its original state.
This happens because the skin loses collagen and elastin, fibers that create a youthful, tight feel. Additionally, we lose fat below the skin layers that causes the outer layer to droop and thin, forming wrinkles. To help keep your skin healthy while you age:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors.
- Use gentle cleansers as part of your anti-aging skin care regimen.
- Get skin cancer screenings at least once a year.
- Paying attention to the skin below your neck is important too – always use warm water (hot water can dry the skin).
- Use a rich, natural body lotion after you bathe.
- If you smoke, QUIT!! Smoking contributes to the cosmetic affects such as wrinkles and skin aging. Also, smoking may contribute to the growth of skin cancer and a long list of other ailments.
6) Take Care of Your Mental Health
Keeping stress to a minimum and being happy plays a major role in living and aging well. Spend time with friends and family. Nurturing meaningful relationships and building a strong social network improves physical and mental health and longevity. Enjoy the benefits of a yoga class to calm the mind and strengthen the body!
7) New Hobbies and Interests
Finding new and meaningful things to do will help fuel your happiness. New interests or hobbies will help you have a sense of purpose and joy. This will make life much more rewarding. The National Institute on Aging has reported that those who have hobbies, engage in social and leisure activities are happier. Also, live longer! Most importantly, these new hobbies will stimulate the brain by learning new things!
8) Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Most importantly, getting enough sleep has been shown to lower the risk of strokes, heart disease and obesity. Also, reduce depression, stress and inflammation. And, improves concentration and focus. Strive for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
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9) Be Kind – It’s a Great Age Defier
As we age, the immune system weakens. However, studies have shown that being kind boosts the immune system. People dealing with stress are more prone to disease and infections. Having a positive attitude towards life’s stressors, giving and receiving kindness helps the body fight off disease. Also, allows recovery to happen faster from illness. Thinking about others also fights depression.
Frequently being kind and affectionate can have cumulative effects. Most importantly, over time can lead to lower blood pressure. Also, and excellent form of kindness is making someone laugh – laughter is the best medicine!
10) Embrace Your Age
Based on a statement from Oxford Academic, people who embrace aging live longer and can recuperate faster from health issues. While aging is inevitable, embracing it can make a major difference on how enjoyable it is.
Follow these simple tips for aging gracefully so you can GET BETTER WITH AGE…
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle!
- Surround yourself with those you love!
- Doing things that bring you joy!
Kindness Slows Aging and Should Be Part of Everyone’s Wellness Plan