Aging Gracefully

We live in a culture that glorifies youth but aging gracefully is beautiful.  Here are 10 tips to promote healthy aging:

1. Learn a new skill or hobby

Research indicates that new learning, whether it’s a new hobby or continued learning, helps the brain produce new neural pathways, the “roads” on which our information travels in our brains.  New learning can help reduce the impact of both normal aging memory changes and even, in some cases, the impact of dementia.

2. Exercise daily

As we age, our muscles atrophy, our collagen and hormones decrease and our flexibility diminishes. Not only does physical activity fight these normal parts of aging, it improves our outlook on life, gives us purpose and has been shown to protect our brains and is recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association as essential to healthy aging.

3. Be kind to your skin

Our skin is our largest organ and healthy skin not only means no skin cancer, it means we’ll be better equipped to regulate temperature, enjoy interacting with our surroundings longer and be kept safe from injury and infection.  To be kind to your skin, stay hydrated and develop a daily skin care routine that includes wearing sunscreen and protective clothing

4. Accept your age

A study done in Lausanne, Switzerland, showed a correlation between having a positive, accepting perception of aging and having a reduced incidence of disability in Activities of Daily Living.  Recognize where you may have prejudice against aging and work to change those thought patterns.  Be aware of both your internal and external dialogue related to aging.  “In acceptance lieth peace”

5. Get enough sleep

The Sleep Foundation states that, scientifically, adults 65 and older need 7-8 hours of sleep to restore our bodies and power our minds.

6. Quit Smoking

If you need another reason to quit smoking, smoking prematurely ages the skin and increases wrinkles but, as we all know, it also damages our lungs, causes heart disease and cancer, oral decay, blood clots and strokes, and can contribute to ED in men.

7. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves breathing methods and other practices to relax the body and mind to help reduce stress. You seek to focus intensely on what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment.

8. Spend time with friends

Meaningful friendships and a strong social network are proven to reduce loneliness, lower stress, and improve your mental outlook.  Read our earlier blog on social wellness here

9. Mind your mouth (oral care matters!)

Gum disease puts you at risk for stroke and heart disease so practice good oral care and see your dentist regularly.

10. Eat a Mediterranean diet

Numerous studies have demonstrated that a diet high in foods of plant origin (fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans and breads/cereals), and where olive oil is the main source of fat (poultry and fish are consumed in medium-low quantities) and red meat is consumed sporadically (not more than once a week) can reduce mortality rates, lower the risk of heart attack, and keeps people “genetically young”.  Read more here

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