7 Steps to Healthy, Happy Aging

Julia Little  |  April 8, 2016

Growing old presents new challenges to staying healthy and in good spirits. By following these tips, seniors can minimize the risk of getting sick, less independent or unhappy in their golden years.

Adapting to the changes brought on by old age is important, especially because folks may neglect the importance of a healthy diet or staying psychically active during middle age. As you get older, taking the time to be proactive about your personal health and well being is absolutely essential. Having said that, this effort can be easy and rewarding.

1. Start An Exercise Plan.
Physical activity has a long list of health benefits for people of all ages, and according to Everyday Health, finding time to exercise regularly is especially important for senior care. This keeps your body fit, empowering you to do the things you love, but can also be critical in preventing or minimizing the risks associated with things like heart disease or dementia.

By joining a community group or partnering with a friend, finding ways to exercise can be a fun development in your day to day life. Activities like swimming or jogging are fantastic ways to stay loose and limber, and can be calming for the mind as well. Other ideas, like yoga or lifting weights, can improve flexibility and mobility.

2. Pick Up a New Hobby.
Concordia reported that along with efforts to stay physically active, seniors should find ways to exercise the mind as well. A new hobby not only helps with memory and reasoning skills, but can be a fun and easy way to stay social. Staying busy and interacting with peers or neighbors on a regular basis is helpful for avoiding feelings of loneliness or depression.

There are all sorts of ways seniors can get started on a new activity. There are all sorts of community meetings and workshops that might teach a new skill like knitting or sewing, promote physical exercise with hiking or bird watching or even bring together veterans or like minded individuals.

3. Connect with Old Friends.
Beyond taking a class or picking up a new hobby, one for seniors to become more social is to reach out to old friends, colleagues or classmates. Using social media sites like Facebook, re-connecting with long-lost buddies has never been easier.

You may find that you enjoy corresponding with an old friend through email or over the phone, but it may also be possible to get together for a cup of coffee or dinner.

4. Eat well.
Attempting to become more physically active will only go so far without providing your body with the right fuel. More to the point, without honing in on healthy eating habits, seniors may be more at risk for developing new ailments or have problems with mobility. Symptoms related to conditions like arthritis, diabetes or anemia can be avoided or alleviated by a change in diet, the National Institute of Health found.  

By increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods you consume while cutting back on processed sugars, red meat and meals full of salts or fats, you can provide your body important nutrients and vitamins and reduce the number of harmful things that come with junk food.

5. Stay Ahead of the Curve.
Being proactive as you age is crucial, beyond diet and exercise. Seniors should be sure to visit a primary care physician regularly, especially in the face of a new ailment or change in a chronic condition. Your doctor may be able to catch a symptom or illness before it becomes more complicated and difficult to treat. Staying on top of medication and important vaccinations is also advisable. 

6. Quit an Old Habit.
Another way older adults can be happy and healthy well into their golden years is to work at dropping an old habit. The health risks associated with smoking or drinking in excess are only exacerbated as you age. On a positive note, once you have gotten over the hump and have gone a few weeks without a cigarette or cut back on drinking, you may find you have new energy and are suffering less from nagging sinus or respiratory issues.

7. Keep a Positive Attitude.
Some of the negative aspects of growing old can be very disheartening or imposing, but seniors that indulge in feeling negative or grumpy because of these issues will struggle to maintain longer term happiness or even good health. Keep a positive outlook and focus on the good things in your life.

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