Aging Gracefully

Aging gracefully isn’t just about trying to look younger—it’s about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. You can even get better with age, with the right care. Aging gracefully is more about being healthy than keeping the wrinkles at bay. Here are a few tips on how you can age gracefully!

Exercise

Exercising regularly can significantly lower your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and can help you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and your mood.

The Department of Health recommends that adults do:

  • 2½ – 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1 ¼ – 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, or a combination of the two
  • Muscle-strengthening activities of moderate intensity that involve all major muscle groups two or more days per week
  • Older adults should also focus on activities that include balance training in addition to aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises.

Evidence shows that people who even begin exercising later in life can also experience improved heart function.

Mental Health Matters

Being happy and keeping stress to a minimum plays a considerable role in helping you live and age well. Here are some helpful tips to help you stay happy.

  • Spend time with loved ones: Meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve mental and physical well-being and longevity.
  • Accept your age:  People who maintain a positive attitude about aging live longer and may recover better from a disability. Aging is inevitable, and learning to embrace it can make all the difference.
  • Do things you enjoy: Taking time to do things you enjoy will only fuel your happiness.

Healthy Food For Thought

Diet is shown to be an important part of how people age. Make sure you are paying attention to the glycemic index value of the foods you are consuming. Foods with a higher glycemic index value can raise your BMI, increase your waistline, and spike your blood sugar. Also, make sure you are consuming the recommended amounts of vitamins as they help contribute to bone health as you age.

Eating well is not just about your weight. It can also help protect you from certain health problems that occur more frequently among older adults. Eating unhealthy foods can increase your risk for some diseases. If you are concerned about your diet, talk with your doctor about ways you can make better food choices.

Also, drink plenty of water! It helps improve energy level, brain function and your skin.

Get Enough Sleep

Good sleep is important for your physical and mental health. Adults over the age of 18 should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Getting enough sleep has proven to:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease & stroke
  • Reduce stress & depression
  • Lower the risk of obesity
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve focus & concentration

Lower your stress

The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease.

There are a number of proven ways to relieve stress including:

  • using relaxation techniques, such a meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga
  • exercising
  • getting adequate sleep
  • talking to a friend

Find New Social Activities

Finding new and meaningful hobbies, joining a group and social interests can help maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. According to the National Institute on Aging people who engage in hobbies and leisure and social activities are happier and experience less depression.

Making new connections and having an active social life has been proven to help you live longer.

Make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle, surround yourself with people you love, and do things that bring you joy!

Contributor: Augusta Health

Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of  Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina.  For 13 years, Silver Connections has provided unique local events, travel opportunities, personal service, quality members and connections for age 55+, active and single adults.

SILVER CONNECTIONS WEBSITE:

www.silverconnections.org