Updated: Feb 7
Aging can be a complicated so what can we do to improve the process?
As the years go by, mental and physical health are affected but does that have to mean that
your quality of life should decrease? Not at all! If anything, you can become the
embodiment of ‘older and wiser.’ Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to aging. Know
what’s best for you and do it to live your best life. These tried and tested tips will help guide you through the inevitable changes when aging.
The Age-Old Secrets of Aging
How you age depends on the genes that you inherited from your parents. However,
some other factors that affect aging, luckily, are in your control, including
nutrition, environment, stress, lifestyle, and immunity. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
reports that you can stay younger longer by lowering your cholesterol, maintaining a
target blood pressure, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding
smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation. So, what are the expert tips for developing
a lifestyle that can make you feel and appear healthier than ever.
Let’s take a look...
Make Fabulous Food Choices
If you haven’t been careful about what you eat, now is the time to make conscious
efforts to start eating a healthy diet that helps you achieve your lifestyle and health
goals. Your 50+ diet should be low in salt and sugar as these can lead to health
problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and hypertension (which can result in stroke, heart attack, and a loss of cognitive function). According to the NIH, about two-thirds of Americans experience high blood pressure after they reach 60, and a high-
sodium diet triggers this. So, make sure that you don’t give in to those cravings and
don’t consume more sugar or salt than your daily recommended quantities.
As we get older, our bodies do not create essential as efficiently so we want foods rich in vitamins C,D, and E among others. Ten Foods To Keep You Healthy by Aging.com recommends foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation, foods rich in calcium for our bones and foods full of fiber for our digestive system. Drinking plenty of water will also reduce the chances of dehydration which can cause confusion and drowsiness as well as other health issues.
Don’t underestimate the importance of exercise
When it comes to exercise, consistency is key to achieve both mental and physical health. You don't need a strenuous exercise program to gain these benefits. Even a good 20-minute daily walk and some light weight training can be enough as long as it is part of your every day lifestyle. The benefits of exercising include better heart health, stronger bones, healthy weight maintenance, active mind, better blood circulation, and prevention of problems like constipation.
Exercising also boosts your serotonin levels, which is a brain neurotransmitter
responsible for regulating your appetite, mood, blood pressure, and sleep. As we age,
the serotonin levels naturally decline, resulting in anxiety, depression, and the
hardening of our arteries. Exercising regularly also fights off the effects of the stress
hormone cortisol. This means that when you exercise daily, not only will you have
healthy arteries but also will stay away from fatigue, and feelings of self-doubt and
Make Healthy Life Choices
We all know that we should not smoke if we are going to live a happy lifestyle. We also should live by the motto of "everything in moderation." For example, limit your alcohol intake and minimize TV time. Research has actually shown that excessive TV viewing can actually shorten your life by years because the effects can be similar to those of lack of exercise or smoking! By all means, enjoy your favorite shows, however, know when it is time to get up off the couch and move around.
Speaking of healthy choices, when it comes to sleep, Katie Holmes provides guidance in her Outwit Trade article about improving sleep habits. Among other suggestions, she shares that the bedroom should be a "sleep-only" space and shoot for 7-9 hours per night. You might also want to avoid naps, ensure your room is as dark as possible, stick to a consistent sleep schedule and implement a nighttime routine which helps minimize stress.
Exercise Your Brain
Your brain is like any other muscle in your body – the more you exercise it, the better it will function. Also, let me bust a common myth here: just because you are getting older, you don’t have to experience mental decline. There is evidence that if you regularly
engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading, crossword puzzles, meditating, using a computer, or even writing, you can not only slow down but also reverse the mental decline associated with age. The good news is that it is never too late to start because researchers have found that even people in their 70s or 80s have experienced dramatic improvements
with this simple practice. So, make sure that you keep your brain busy!
Do What You Love
This is one of the key secrets of aging. Identify what makes you happy and
and go for it! If you are still enjoying your job, don't do it just to pay the bills but because you love it. Make time in your day for your favorite hobby or to pursue a new. passion. Take an online class to improve your skills or to dive into something you have always wanted to do. Volunteerism is a great way to not only help others but also to feel good about making an impact. That has become tricky with COVID-19 but there are a ton of virtual volunteer opportunities you can pursue.
As we say at Hello50 - It's My Time - make sure you do what makes you happy!
Soak In the Great Outdoors
It’s always a good idea to step out to get some fresh air. According to these twelve positive impacts of being outside, it can have a positive impact on inflammation, stress anxiety and overall healthy living. Sunlight is of course also so beneficial to use for many reasons - the main one being that when you are exposed to it, your body produces vitamin D (that’s why it is also called ‘the sunshine vitamin). Vitamin D has a range of benefits, including regulating cell growth, maintaining a healthy immune system, protecting against some kinds of cancer, and promoting calcium absorption. Try to spend time near nature as much as possible. You can do this by ensuring that you go for regular walks, engage in outdoor activities, or by indulging in travel experiences.
Take Care of Your Skin
Your skin is your largest organ, and also the one that is most visibly affected by aging.
Engage in daytime and nighttime skincare routines, and stick to them. When you are
outdoors, make sure that you are wearing sunscreen because it can protect your skin
from getting sun spots, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity or firmness. And yes, keep your
body hydrated so that your skin doesn’t dry up. Also, as we have heard from beauty experts, keep your makeup minimal as we age.
When it comes to procedures, do what makes YOU happy, not expectations from others. If you want botox and fillers, or other procedures, go for it! If you are happy with a more natural skin aging process, that is your choice. Remember, you are beautiful in your own
unique way, and everything you do should boost your own beauty instead of making
you look like somebody else.
Attitude Is Everything
One of the biggest impacts on aging is outlook on life with the aging process. What this means is that maintaining a good attitude and cultivating positivity can help you feel and look younger. Here’s how you can develop the right attitude: deal with stress, build
resilience, focus on the positives in every situation, and accept that nothing in life is
permanent. Embrace the aging process and enjoy every aspect of it instead of just
tolerating or dreading it.
Consciously ignore negativity, and don’t underestimate the effect this can have on you.
There is plenty of research that suggests that people who stay positive lead happier
lives and are less vulnerable to mental decline. According to Harvard University,
positive people are at a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, and other diseases.
Take inventory of what makes you feel happy and positive but ensure you are aware of what is creating a toxic environment in your life. In most cases, you have control over managing a life full of positive energy.
Age Is, Indeed, Just A Number
You are as old as you feel. Remember, every phase of life is beautiful and life over 50 is no different. This is the perfect time to better understand yourself and ponder over the amazing things around you. Above all, love yourself and celebrate your age – find your inner peace and pursue your passions. Make your mental and physical health a priority so you are living your best life.