As we get older, our bodies won’t be shy to know about it. But is freaking out about every new wrinkle really the best way to face aging?
The truth is, aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look younger. It’s about having the mental and physical health to live the life you want. Like a bottle of wine, you can improve with age if you take care of yourself.
Want to make sure you’ll spend your golden years in style? Start by checking out this guide for maintaining a healthy body as you get older!
Regular exercise is the first and most important step to healthy aging. On top of helping you retain mobility, exercise lowers the risk of disease. It can also be crucial for improving your skin and bone health.
According to the HHS, all adults should do 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Alternatively, you can do 1.25-2.5 hours of aerobic exercise per week. Aerobic exercise includes walking, swimming, and cycling.
You should also aim to do some muscle-strengthening activities two days a week. Aim for activities that engage all major muscle groups. Using weights or resistance bands can be a perfect fit for these exercises.
Eat a Proper Diet
Other than exercise, a proper diet is the next best thing for staying healthy. With so many diets out there, though, choosing what to eat can be confusing. For best results, try to include all these types of food in your diet:
- fruits and vegetables (fresh, canned, or frozen)
- low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk, cheese fortified with vitamin D)
- lean protein (fish and beans)
- whole-grain cereal, rice, bread, or pasta
- healthy fats
Do your best to stay away from processed foods and refined sugars. If you’re using solid fats for cooking, consider using oils instead. Finally, keep your salt intake low to avoid issues with high blood pressure.
Get Enough Sleep
Like all adults, older people need 7-9 hours of quality sleep. Getting enough sleep reduces stress, lowers the risk of heart disease, and improves focus. Sleep quality is also great for your mood and problem-solving skills.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try going to bed at the same time each day. Avoid late naps, as they’re more likely to keep you awake at night. Practicing mindfulness meditation can help treat some sleep disturbances.
If you’re a regular smoker, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your body. Giving up smoking has many positive effects, from improving blood circulation to lowering the risk of cancer. It can even help you exercise!
The first step to quitting smoking is picking a definite date to do it. Know what your smoking triggers are and have a plan to avoid them. If you need help with quitting, talk to your doctor or go to a counseling session.
The older you get, the more your body will be susceptible to alcohol misuse. What’s more, you’ll become more vulnerable to the consequences of drinking. In general, alcohol dependence affects every organ in the body.
The good news: you don’t need to quit alcohol cold turkey. Instead, focus on limiting your intake to the recommended amount. That’s two drinks per day for most men and one drink per day for most women.
If you need more liquids in your life, try switching to water! Water keeps your skin healthy, which is essential for reducing the signs of aging. A regular water intake will also improve your energy levels.
Stay in Shape
As great as exercise is, it won’t help that much if you’re not staying in shape. Leading a sedentary lifestyle increases the risks of chronic illness and early death. This is particularly true if you’re obese or overweight.
There are plenty of things that can help you stay physically active, from going on hikes to taking a vacation. If you think you need professional help to stay in shape, consider spending some time at a fat farm program.
Practice Dental Hygiene
Beyond aging your smile, not taking care of your mouth puts you at risk for gum disease. In the long run, gum disease can lead to stroke. To protect your gums, brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.
Other than practicing oral care, a healthy lifestyle includes dentist visits. For starters, dentists can spot signs of nutritional deficiencies. Plus, they can identify infections and illnesses like diabetes.
Find New Hobbies
On top of being fun, hobbies are the key to maintaining good health in old age. People who take part in leisure activities are at lower risk of various health issues. Plus, studies show they’re just happier in general!
As for which hobbies to get into, it all depends on what you’re after. If you’re looking for ideas, try sampling different activities. Go to a new restaurant, visit a museum, or try to become more active in your community.
Even something as simple as pet ownership can be a great hobby for improving physical health. Not only will you have another reason to go for a walk, but you’ll improve your cognitive health as well.
Visit a Doctor Regularly
Regular doctor visits can do wonders to help you maintain good health. Doing so allows you to catch issues early or before they start. This is very important if you have existing conditions or a family history of illnesses.
Try to visit your doctor at least once per year. If you only seek medical attention when you’re feeling unwell, you’re giving the doctor less to work with. Concerning symptoms are another good reason to visit a doctor.
Healthy Body, Healthy Life!
Maintaining a healthy body may not be easy, but it’s still the best way to face the challenges of aging. As long as you can manage your health, your quality of life will follow suit. The above tips are a great starting point!
Do you like the idea of exercising, but can’t seem to make yourself go to the gym? If so, check out our Fitness section for unique workout ideas you can do at home!