8 Positive Aging Tips for Seniors
Americans are living longer than ever. But for most of us, aging comes with its share of aches, pains and unwelcome changes. (Who’s that old guy in the mirror? And what’s that growing out of my ears?)
The good news is we can improve the quality of our golden years by making healthy lifestyle choices and adopting a positive view of aging.
What is Positive Aging?
Positive aging is basically adopting a positive view of aging as a healthy, normal part of life. It’s the mindset that you’ll do what’s needed in order to continue doing the things you love and that are important to you as you grow older.
To help you adopt a more positive attitude toward your own aging process, here are eight things you can do to live a long, happy life.
1. Exercise Every Day
Regular physical activity can help you move better, feel better, sleep better and live longer. Experts recommend older adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, bicycling, swimming or fast dancing. You should also do muscle-strengthening activities, like lifting weights or doing sit-ups, at least two days a week.
2. Stay Mentally Active
Engaging in new and challenging activities you enjoy helps keep your mind sharp. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, reading, playing cards, or putting together a jigsaw puzzle are all good ways to stay mentally fit. Learning something new is even better; it encourages the growth of new brain cells and stimulates the connections between them. So consider learning a new skill, taking a college class, or pursuing a new hobby.
3. Eat Right
Making healthy eating choices can help lower cholesterol; reduce blood pressure; and protect against conditions such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers. It also makes meals tasty and satisfying. General guidelines include eating plenty of fruits and vegetables; choose nuts, beans, chicken and fish for proteins; opt for whole-grain carbohydrates; and replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats.
4. Stay Connected
Lack of social connection poses as much of a health risk as smoking, drinking too much, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Friends, on the other hand, relieve stress, boost mood, support you through tough times, and add purpose to your life. They may even extend your lifespan. Make it a point to stay in touch with old work colleagues and explore opportunities to broaden your social network.
5. Accentuate the Positive
There are various techniques you can try to increase positive emotions, such as journaling. At the end of the day, write down three things that went well for you and why they went well. Reframing negative thoughts is another technique that helps you see things from a different perspective. Your posture can also make a difference. Competitive athletes know how their body language can affect their level of play. Take a tip from them and adjust your posture to change your frame of mind.
6. Set Goals
You may have already achieved your professional goals, but it’s important to keep setting new goals to strive toward. Having goals can energize you, provide a sense of purpose, and help to redefine your identity. Sharing your goals with someone else and tracking your progress can help keep you motivated and improve your chances of success.
7. Minimize Stress
Chronic stress not only makes you anxious and irritable; it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. To help manage stress, get regular exercise, and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing. Having a talk with an understanding friend and spending time with family and friends — perhaps over a meal and a glass of wine — can also help reduce stress.
8. Get Regular CheckUps
It’s a good idea to have at least one medical checkup a year. Symptoms such as memory loss, sleep problems or weight loss could point to underlying health problems, or side effects of medication. An annual checkup is also an opportunity to get a yearly flu shot or pneumonia vaccine. Women, in particular, may need a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis.
Look on the Brighter Side of Life at Laurel Circle
It should come as no surprise that we take a positive view of aging. That includes providing our residents with opportunities to improve their health and well-being. Our wellness programs, for example, encompass eight dimensions of wellness designed to engage mind, body and spirit. To learn more about our positive approach to independent living and how it can help you or a loved one have more good days, get in touch. We’re always happy to answer your questions.