As people grow older, maintaining health becomes more of a priority. While aging is natural, there are things you can do to slow the process and keep you sharp and active as the years pass by. By implementing healthy lifestyle habits throughout your life, not just as you begin to notice signs of aging, you ensure your golden years are some of the best of your life. If you’re looking for ways to ensure you live your golden years to the fullest, here are some tips for staying fit and vibrant as you age.
Take care of your skin
Your skin is your first line of defense. Your skin is a barrier shielding you from the sun’s harmful rays, air pollution, and environmental toxins. The quality of your skin is also an indicator of your overall health and wellness. If your skin looks dull, irritated, or red, this could indicate an underlying health problem. To ensure you’re helping your skin stay healthy, drink plenty of water, always wear sunscreen, and implement a skincare routine into your daily life. If you experience a skin condition, ensure you contact your dermatologist to rule out any illnesses.
Treat health concerns
It’s natural for a health concern to arise at some point in your life, especially as you age. However, when we’re young, it’s easy to put off seeing a doctor or attribute these issues to something minor. However, you must treat any physical concerns as soon as possible with a doctor, especially as you get older. By addressing health conditions early on as you notice symptoms, you have a better chance of treating them. By taking an active approach to your health, you can avoid contracting diseases or illnesses common in older people. These illnesses can include, heart disease, arthritis, essential tremors, and more. By maintaining your health early on in your life and seeing a doctor for your annual check-up, you have a better chance of staying healthy and vibrant in your old age.
Exercise is another essential factor in healthy aging. Regular physical activity lowers your risk of contracting heart disease and cancer. By increasing your heart rate, you also maintain physical mobility. If you don’t particularly enjoy hitting the gym, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Instead, putting on your walking shoes and taking a stroll daily is sufficient to keep you active. Getting anywhere from two to five hours of physical activity weekly allows you to maintain your health as you grow older. To avoid getting bored or burnt out on your exercise routine, try switching things up and finding an activity you enjoy. Maybe a new sport or taking the time to walk your dog during the winter months. Your body will thank you for it.
Eat a healthy diet
Getting a healthy diet plays a crucial role in how gracefully you age. A nutritious diet provides your body with the vitamins, fiber, minerals, and more it needs to sustain itself and function properly. A healthy diet also supports your cognitive function and slower cognitive decline. Older populations are more at risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A healthy diet supports you physically and mentally as you grow older, so eating properly throughout your life is essential. Get your whole family involved in the kitchen or family oasis so you all can have the benefits of healthy diet.
Eating healthily also supports a healthy weight. Overweight or obese populations are more at risk for developing heart disease. Almost 700,000 people die of heart-related issues in America each year, so it’s crucial to keep your heart, body, and mind healthy with a proper diet.
When you fall asleep, your body works hard to repair itself. Regularly losing out on sleep or poor sleep hygiene may lead to faster aging and not feeling your best as you grow older. Lack of sleep also can damage your DNA and increase inflammation in the body, accelerating the aging process. Poor sleep may also accelerate cognitive decline. While a night of sleep loss won’t make a huge impact, if you regularly miss out on sleep, your body and mind will pay the price. Poor sleep hygiene can also affect your mood and increase your risk of chronic diseases.
If your sleep quality isn’t where it needs to be, invest in a quality mattress and a good set of sheets and blankets. Ensure you turn off phone notifications and develop a bedtime routine to induce melatonin production. If you’re having difficulty sleeping after implementing better habits, consult your doctor to create a treatment plan.
Everyone has some form of stress in their lives. Whether it be their family, work, or social groups, you likely experience different stress levels at various points in your life. Because stress is one of the few guarantees in life, it’s essential to learn how to manage stress early on. Practicing stress management helps reduce your risk of physical and mental illnesses. Stress increases cortisol in the body, increasing your blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure increases your risk of contracting heart disease because your heart cannot function properly. Stress also impacts your sleep quality, and we mentioned before how that affects your aging process. To manage the stress in your life, practice relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga. You can also use exercise as an outlet for stress.
Train your brain
To keep your brain functioning throughout your life, especially as you get older, you need to train it. While physical activity keeps your body mobile, mental exercise keeps your brain sharp. To prevent cognitive decline as you get older, make lifelong learning a priority. Finding a hobby to learn and grow your skill in is great for your brain and gives you a sense of purpose in life. Training your brain also will help keep your memory strong and reduce your risk of developing a mental health condition like depression and anxiety, which impact your overall quality of life.
Build interpersonal relationships
While the relationships in your life won’t impact your health directly, they do play a role in the aging process. As you grow older, you become more at risk for social isolation. Social isolation has a significant impact on your overall health and well-being, so building and maintaining healthy relationships improves your overall well-being. Socializing is also another exercise for your brain, so regularly engaging with the people in your life may keep your brain in good health.
Aging gracefully is essential to living a fulfilling and active life. By ensuring you adopt and implement healthy lifestyle habits, including diet, exercise, sleep, and more, you improve your overall health as you age. Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond, it’s never too late to prioritize your health.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends