When we think of aging, some think about wrinkles, aches, and pains and the negative associations of the aging process. Yet there is so much more to aging! No, we cannot stop the aging process, but we can choose to live a healthy lifestyle. This is the time to do things you have never done and find enjoyment. Here are just a few things to consider when aging gracefully and living your best life!
Be nice to your skin
To keep your skin looking and feeling at its best:
- Stay hydrate. On average we should drink 7-8 cups of water a day to keep our skin looking good and our body functioning appropriately. When we become dehydrated our skin can become dry and folded.
- Wear sunscreen and even a hat to keep the sun off your face
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect your eyes from sun damage
- Use gentle skin care products
- Make sure and have a yearly skin cancer screening
Regular exercise helps control your cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight, and reduces the risk of hardening of the arteries, stroke, and heart attack. A good fitness program conditions muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones to stimulate bone growth and helps prevent osteoporosis while keeping your body limber and lowering your chances of injury. Exercise is also good for managing low back pain, arthritis, and diabetes. Incorporating regular exercise into your life can help you feel better, sleep better and give you the endurance to enjoy your best life.
- It is recommended to participate in cardiovascular exercise 3-5x/week for 30-60 minutes. Walking, dancing, and cycling are examples of cardiovascular exercise.
- It is also recommended to do strengthening exercises 2-3/week. These exercises can be done with weights or bands.
- Eat food high in fiber to help with healthy digestion and to avoid constipation. High fiber foods will also make your belly full! Men 51+ need 30 grams of fiber and women 51+ need 21 grams of fiber daily. When increasing your fiber intake start slow and work up to the proper daily intake.
- Fill your plate with 50% fruits and veggies, 25% grains and 25% lean protein. Try to use fresh fruits and veggies that aren’t saturated in sugars and sauces. When choosing grains look for items that are whole grain such as bread, cereals, rice or pasta. And when choosing proteins go for the those that are lean in fat such as peanut butter, nuts/seed, bean, fish, or chicken.
- Limit foods high in cholesterol, sugar and saturated or trans fats.
- Refer to myplate.org for more dietary guidelines for older adults
Mental Health and Mindfulness
Being happy and healthy goes a long way when it comes to mental health. Many factors can affect our mental health and some we don’t even realize. Being mindful of our stresses can improve our focus and our memory.
- To keep your mental health in check surround yourself with good people. People who motivate you to be better and give off positive energy. Spend time with family, friends and loved ones.
- Accept your age. Aging is unavoidable so learn to embrace it and live that best life
- Get sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Shut off the electronics and let your brain relax and let your body rest. Getting enough sleep can help reduce stress, depression and even lower your risk of obesity.
- Accept and live in the moment. Focus on the present and don’t stress over things you can’t fix. Engage in activities such as yoga or tai chi.
Though aging is inevitable we can influence how our journey goes. It is never too late to start making healthy choices for a healthier happy future. Now is the time to age with grace and start living your best life!!