The clock ticks for everyone and every second brings physical, mental, and emotional change. Your new, older self can be the best version of yourself. You can be more confident and knowledgeable than your younger self! And even with age, your body and mind can be as healthy as possible. Here are ten research-based tips for aging gracefully.
1. Eat Healthy
Eating healthy means consuming more veggies, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Cut your intake of fatty meats, sugar, salt, and processed foods. Research shows that a healthy diet can help you live longer as well as decrease your vulnerability to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. Also, a healthy diet increases mental acuteness and enhances energy levels to make anti-aging easy.
2. Manage Stress
Chronic stress has adverse health effects including weight gain, insomnia, impaired immune and digestive system, and increased risk of heart disease. High levels of stress can contribute to premature aging (Gregoire 2013). And so, say NO to stress and YES to aging gracefully. Learn to manage stress by increasing physical activity, talking to others in person or on the phone, relaxing, and doing the things you enjoy.
3. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise delays aging while helping to live longer. According to a 2014 Harvard Alumni Study, regular exercise can add up to two years of life (Harvard Health, 2014) which is the real anti-aging! Regular exercise can reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease and osteopenia and osteoporosis. And it’s fun! Try walking, dancing, swimming, and cycling and please offer your suggestions for other activities in our groups and forums.
4. Engage in Brain-aerobics
Apart from exercising your body, it’s important to also exercise your brain. Mental decline is NOT an unavoidable part of aging. Research proves that engaging in brain-stimulating activities can slow or reverse age-related mental decline.
Meditation, for instance, helps your brain stay healthy, relieves stress, improves concentration, and reduces cognitive decline (Natale 2018). Tasks that exercise your brain, such as puzzles, crosswords, trying new cooking recipes, learning a new hobby or skill, and blogging can also keep you engaged and stimulated.
5. Quit Smoking
It’s time to quit smoking if you want to age well. Use online resources or ask for help from your doctor to quit – it’s time. There is no aging gracefully with a cigarette in your hand – just aging quickly and that’s no good.
6. Get Adequate Sleep
Sufficient sleep improves your physical and mental health as well as your skin’s health. So, if you want to have vibrant skin in old age, sleep more. Why? Well, when you sleep, your blood flow to the skin improves, and the skin can regenerate. Consequently, you’ll see fewer wrinkles and age spots (Healthline 2018).
7. Participate in Activities you Enjoy
Taking part in the activities you enjoy can be fun and relaxing and research shows that engaging in such activities can be good for your health! For example, one study revealed that seniors who engage in social and productive activities live longer than those who do not and those older adults feel healthier and happier. Whether you enjoy playing games, cooking, traveling, volunteering, or gardening, continue doing it! You’ll be glad you did.
8. Stay Connected
1 in 3 seniors is lonely. Chronic loneliness can affect your physical and mental health, memory, and life expectancy. And it can shorten life expectancy. If you want to be aging gracefully, stay connected by making friends, helping people in need, engaging in volunteer work and more.
9. Drink Lots of Water
The first signs of aging appear on the skin. Drinking water can hydrate your skin and eliminate undesirable wrinkles and lines (Akdeniz, et al. 2018). It keeps your skin healthy and rejuvenated and drinking plenty of water can increase your energy levels, increase brain function, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
10. Stay Optimistic
Aging is inevitable. Joy is possible! So choose happy! It is vital to be positive and optimistic. Optimistic people have fewer health problems and live longer than their negative counterparts. Learn to be optimistic by smiling more, dwelling on the good – not the bad. Do good for others, accept the things you can’t change, and surround yourself with positive people.
Aging gracefully does not mean striving to look young. It is about having the physical and mental health to enjoy life even with wrinkles and gray hair. Healthy aging means reinventing yourself as you go through the changes and transitions of life. Congratulations! You’re taking just the right kinds of positive steps just by being here!
Akdeniz, M, T Tomova-Simitchieva, G Dobos, U Blume-Peytavi, and J Kottner. “Does dietary fluid intake affect skin hydration in healthy humans? A systematic literature review.” Skin Research and Technology 24, no. 3 (2018): 459-465.
Gregoire, C. Stress And Aging: 5 Ways Chronic Stress Can Affect The Aging Process. November 04, 2013.
Morrow-Howell, N, J Hinterlong, and F Tang. “Effects of volunteering on the well-being of older adults.” The Journals of Gerontology 58, no. 3 (2003): 137-145.