Lifestyle Changes for Healthy, Happy Aging
You’ve likely heard some iteration of 50 being the ‘new 30’ and 75 being the ‘new mid-life.’ As medicine advances and technology continues to redefine what it possible, life expectancy is on the rise across the country. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all aging gracefully. Aging healthily and happily is beyond how we appear on the outside. It’s about adopting a whole-body approach.
We’ve rounded up some lifestyle changes that can help extend your lifespan and expand the quality of your life.
Lines and wrinkles are an unavoidable fact of life as we mature into our older years. What is avoidable, however, is the amount of sunlight we subject our unprotected skin to. Slopping on sunscreen, slipping on a shirt, and slapping on a hat - and some UV-blocking shades! - are all ways you can limit your exposure to UV rays and prevent sunspots, the brown patches of skin that may lead to skin cancer at a later time.
Always be sure to read the label: sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays (“broad spectrum”) with an SPF of 30 or higher are recommended.
Just Keep Swimming
Like the participants of Louise Lincoln’s fitness class know all too well, it’s important to keep movin’ and groovin’! Even if you don’t partake in a regular exercise or workout class, any physical activity is good activity. (In fact, it’s critical to downshift from high-impact exercises as we get older.) Keeping our muscles engaged is the most effective way to counteract muscle loss or chronic and acute diseases.
Studies suggest that all adults including seniors can benefit from as little as 15 minutes a day of exercise. WebMD has six great, low-impact moves you can add to your exercise routine.
Note: Remember to always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs.
You Are What You Eat
Choosing nutrient-rich foods is important for people of all ages, but especially for older adults. As we age, our bodily functions begin to decelerate. The muscles in our digestive tract become more rigid and less efficient, not contracting as easily as it did at one time. This can lead to a host of problems like heartburn, stomach pain, and constipation. A poor diet can also open up the door for free radicals to enter your body, which can damage your DNA and accelerate the aging process.
Be conscious of what you you put in your mouth. Moderation is key: the occasional indulgence is better than a daily sugar rush. Try to avoid foods high in salt, fat, and sugar, and opt for a diet rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Mind Over Matter
Mental stimulation is an essential part of maintaining your brain health. Surprise your brain and learn something new: take up a new hobby, learn another language, pick up an instrument, or open a book for a half hour every day. Those who stay socially and intellectually involved reduce their chances of developing dementia.
There is no such thing as ‘quick fixes’ when it comes to the aging process, but there are plenty of proactive strategies you can adopt to take charge of your own health. At Catholic Eldercare, our community of senior residences offers older adults inviting opportunities to live life to the fullest and maintain a positive quality of life. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact us at 612-379-1370 or complete our contact form for follow-up.