People on average are living longer these days, and many older adults are struggling with health and mobility issues.
Healthy aging has actually become an active enterprise, and the World Health Organization defines is as, “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age”.
Aging is certainly a process, there is no arguing with that. How enjoyable and complication-free the process is, has a lot to do with individual attitude.
A positive attitude can make a huge difference in both health and happiness.
Western society could take a page out of the far east’s teachings about age, where seniors are respected for their wisdom and wealth of experience.
Aging is something that should be embraced, not contested. Fighting against the inevitable is a waste of time and energy, and can also be a major source of stress.
6 Tips for Healthy Aging
There many suggestions for lifestyle and healthy behaviors that can make the aging process more manageable and satisfying.
Some useful aging tips, may include:
- Healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Social interaction
- Mental stimulation
- Quality sleep
- Minimize stress
When it comes to healthy aging, nutrition plays an extremely important role. A nutrient-rich diet is the foundation for all other healthy activities.
Physical exercise is basically worthless if you are not providing your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to generate energy and facilitate recovery and healing.
Maintaining a healthy diet is actually quite simple if you are truly concerned about your health.
What to Eat
A healthy diet is focused on fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
The focus here is on eating only whole foods, which means avoiding processed foods.
What not to Eat
Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid deep fried and processed foods.
These unhealthy food items can lead to an array of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
After a nutritious diet, consistent exercise is likely the next most important factor for good health.
Seniors should engage in at least one hour of light exercise every day. This can include walking, gardening, yoga, tai chi, swimming, dancing, cycling, or even housework.
Regular exercise helps with:
- Strong muscles and bones
- Weight control
- Mood elevation
- Better sleep
- Strengthened immune system
Many people overlook social activity as one of the important pillars of health. Social interaction is good for maintaining healthy in a variety of ways.
Social engagement helps keep the mind active. The process of the brain absorbing information, processing it, and then devising an appropriate response in a limited time frame is one of the best ways to prevent early onset dementia.
Social activity also helps seniors avoid isolation and depression.
Regular participation in mentally stimulating activity is critical for keeping the mind sharp.
Social activity is one way to achieve this. Other options are crosswords, sudoku, learning a new language, learning a new skill, memory games, and reading.
Any activity that stimulates the brain has been shown to help prevent cognitive decline, which can lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
A highly recommended practice is to never stop learning and trying new things.
As much as the brain requires stimulation, it also needs sufficient rest. Adults of any age should be aiming for 7 to 9 hours sleep a night for optimal results.
Sleep is necessary to rejuvenate the body and mind.
Insomnia is a fairly common issue for seniors. People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep, and then difficulty staying asleep, once they finally do.
Some tips for beating insomnia and getting regular quality sleep, include:
- Stick to a schedule – try to go to bed and go to sleep at a consistent time everyday
- Keep the bedroom dark with no distractions
- Avoid napping throughout the day
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol after dinner
- Check your meds to see if any of them may impact your sleep
Stress is one of the leading contributors to a host of health problems. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors.
Stress can be brought on by such things as demanding work schedules or difficult relationships, but it can also be caused by just about any activity that puts excessive demands on your system. This can mean different things for different people.
If you are regularly feeling stressed, try to identify your stress triggers, and then avoid them.
Some good ways to help reduce stress are physical activity, quality sleep, and laughter.