September is Healthy Aging Month
September is Healthy Aging Month. It’s a good time to take a look at your lifestyle habits and routines and see if perhaps, with a few minor adjustments, you can look and feel better as you age. Many people over the age of 50 may think that it is too late to make any significant lifestyle changes or that it wouldn’t make any difference if they did. But many studies show that adults who begin to make small changes in their lifestyle such as eating 5 fruits and veggies daily, walking a minimum of 2 ½ hours per week and increasing their social activity produced measurable and significant benefits. It’s never too late to adopt new habits and improve your lifestyle and become a healthier, happier you.
Here are a few strategies to help you on your way to feeling and living better as you age:
1. Try to have 5 fruits and veggies every day, or start small with a green smoothie to load up on vitamins and nutrients. It will boost your energy and your immune system.
2. Get 5 minutes of vigorous exercise a day or take a brisk walk with a friend — you’ll not only see the benefits of the exercise but the social interaction will help your brain and reduce your stress.
3. Meditate for a few minutes every day. That can include sitting quietly listening to soft music, or reciting a favorite poem or prayer in your mind, or just sitting and enjoying the quiet all around you. While giving your body a few minutes of relaxation, you can also clear your mind of the clutter that clouds your thinking.
4. Contact a friend – stay socially connected to your community, family and friends. Surround yourself with people that have positive attitudes and those who see the bright side of life. You’ll feel lighter and more positive too.
5. Get more sleep. Recent studies have shown that getting too much or too little sleep can have a negative effect on your health. Although the exact number of hours many vary by one or two, it is best to get at between 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
6. Practice Gratitude. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
7. Stretch or try tai chi – it can dramatically improve balance and cut the risk of falls by almost half. Muscle inflexibility can be the cause of many health issues including muscle strain, falls and back pain. Stretching is an excellent way to strengthen your body, it’s easy to do and no equipment necessary!
8.Use exercise as a body strengthening technique, not a weight loss tool. As we age, we are often limited by what we can no longer do. By strengthening our bodies, we can live independently longer, reduce the risk of injuries and falls, and lead an active lifestyle.
9. Accept that aging is inevitable. By accepting what you cannot change, it opens the door to appreciating and sharing talents, knowledge, experiences and wisdom gained through the years. An older mind has lots to share with younger generations who do not have the benefit of watching life’s challenges unfold and resolve themselves. An older and wiser mind can offer much comfort to today’s youth.