We live in a youth-obsessed world! But that doesn’t mean aging has to be a bad thing. Afterall, “Growing old is a privilege denied to many.” With age comes wisdom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your mind and body sharp and capable. Here are tips from experts on how to stay healthier, stronger, happier, and younger longer:
SPRIRITUALITY AND OPTIMISM: Attending religious services and having a generally sunny disposition on life have been linked to longer, healthier lives. A 2006 study found that regular church attendance can add 1.8 to 3.1 years to your life. Decreased stress levels from spiritual activities such as meditation are believed to be responsible for the health benefit. A 2011 study of about 1,000 men and women found that those who describe themselves as optimistic had a 55 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the nine year study and a 23 percent lower risk of death from heart failure than pessimists did.
LEARN: Learn something new everyday. This will keep your mind growing and sharp as a tack. Take a course that you have been putting off or start a new career! Enroll in short-term programs and earn industry and nationally recognized certifications at LARE Institute in Andover, MA. Learn more about the programs we offer here.
MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT: Sticking to a healthy weight by exercising and eating right has multiple health benefits. If you keep your weight down, you will decrease your risk of diabetes as well as certain types of arthritis according to the CDC. One of the simplest things people can do is to eat more fruits and vegetables daily. People who eat at least five cups of fruits and vegetables each day have lower blood pressure; lower cardiovascular disease; lower rates of cancer; better immune response and are leaner and have lower rates of diabetes and obesity.
AMP UP YOUR FITNESS: Exercise helps control body weight, lower your blood pressure and strengthens your muscles. An increase in muscle mass helps your body metabolize medication much like that of a younger person. Physical activity has also been linked to decreased risk of dementia. Going to the gym is great, but milder activities, such as gardening or anything that keeps you moving, are sufficient.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!: It is never too late to start leading a healthier lifestyle. Even well into their 60’s and 70’s, adults can take action to reduce their risk of developing chronic disease. “I think the old myth was that somehow after age 60, 65, there is just nothing you can do anymore,” states Margaret Moore, Public Health Advisor for the CDC’s Aging Program. “But really, there are so many things you can do to improve your function and your health well into older age.”
STAY LIMBER: Daily stretching is extremely helpful as you age. Your muscles tend to shorten and stiffen when you aren’t active. Activities like yoga can greatly affect your flexibility. It can help relieve the discomfort of chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis and incorporates poses to improve your strength and balance.
PREVENTION: Preventative measures such as getting a yearly flu shot and getting screened for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers are critical for growing old gracefully. Also, keeping an eye on indicators such as high blood pressure and diabetes can make a difference in terms of the degree of disability people may experience later in life. There are also preventative steps to reduce the severity of arthritis which affects about 46 million adults. By staying educated about the disease, avoiding further joint injury, and keeping physically active, you can ease the effects of arthritis.
VOLUNTEER: The University of Michigan tracked a random sample of individuals who volunteered in different capacities over a period of 10 years. Those who volunteered purely for the benefit of helping others and not for self-oriented reasons had significantly lower mortality rates than those who were mandated or did so for selfish reasons.
Whether you’re looking to limber up with yoga, ease rising blood pressure with exercise, warm your heart through volunteering, or learn something new at LARE Institute, every step you take, helps you remain your vital and vigorous self for as long as possible.
“To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful and
reverent that is to truly triumph over old age.”
– Thomas Bailey Aldrich