Healthy Aging

How would you like to live well into old age? To be independent and live a life full of vitality and energy without suffering from the effects of chronic illnesses? What is healthy aging, and how can you achieve this?

Maturing effortlessly

Let´s dive right in. Advancements in technology and medical health care allow people to live longer than ever. However, as you age, sickness and disease try to weaken your body.

Environmental factors (weather) and genetics (which you have no control over) can affect your health. There are choices you can make to control/turn your life and health around.

Even if you have not always made the best choices in the past, starting a healthy lifestyle as an adult can still have an impact on your quality of life. It is never too late to start investing in your health and making wiser choices.

The dictionary describes Healthy aging as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.

Factors that can impact your health

Many factors can have a lasting impact on your health as you grow older. Living a healthy lifestyle makes transitioning into older age easier. Some factors include:

Being active

Exercise

As humans age, muscle function starts to decline. Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain muscle mass and prevent age-related decline at any age. A healthy muscle mass allows older adults to live longer, feel more energized, and live a life full of vitality. A body in motion is good for preserving health and wellness. There are many ways to get your body moving, such as:

  • walking (take stairs instead of the elevator, walk around park, mall, neighborhood)
  • gardening
  • dancing
  • swimming
  • exercise weekly (consult your physician first to see what type of workout program is good for you)

Diet (smart food choices)

The foods you eat play a vital role in aging. A healthy diet has many benefits, from strengthening your immune system to maintaining your weight. Here are some diet choices that are most beneficial to older adults.

The Mediterranean Diet (prevents heart disease and stroke)

Olive oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. This diet is mostly plant-based:

  • whole grains
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • fruits
  • nuts
  • seeds herbs
  • spices
  • fish
  • seafood

DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension-can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks)

This diet encourages the consumption of foods rich in:

  • potassium
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • whole grains
  • fat-free/low-fat dairy products

MIND Diet (combination of the Mediterranean and Dash diets. Official name Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay-promotes brain health). The MIND Diet may decrease oxidative stress and inflammation. This diet allows:

  • green leafy vegetables
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • berries
  • nuts
  • olive oil
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • beans lean poultry
  • a moderate amount of wine

Avoid butter/margarine, cheese, red meat, fried foods, pastries, and sweets.

Weight

Overweight

Being overweight as an older adult increases your risk of having chronic illnesses therefore, it is good to stay active and make better choices about your diet.

Thin

Being too thin as an older adult is not necessarily healthier as this can pose many problems in itself, such as increasing the risk of bone fractures, weakening the immune system, and many times being too skinny can be a symptom of a disease in itself.

Adequate rest

A good night´s rest is vital to staying healthy and keeps you alert. Older adults need the same amount of sleep as all adults; however, many times, they do not get it because of the side effects of some medicines, and being sick and in pain can rob anyone from getting sufficient sleep.

Sleeping impacts your memory and your mood. Poor sleep can worsen depression in older adults.

Stop bad behavioral practices

Smoking and excessive drinking do not promote good health. Scientific evidence shows strong evidence of premature aging in specific brain regions in alcohol-dependent people (irrespective of gender).

Quitting smoking and alcohol drinking can vastly improve the quality of your life.

Regular Doctor visits

Regular doctor visits are necessary for healthy aging as it is easy to catch diseases early and reduce risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Harmful changes in cells/molecular structure may start in your body years before you start to feel any symptoms of a disease. Tests can detect changes and help in proper diagnosis and treatment.

Cognitive Health

Healthy lifestyle changes keep older adults cognitively (cognitive exercises-cross word puzzles) healthy.

Leisure activities and hobbies

Immersing yourself in activities you are passionate about and love doing, can have a great impact on mental and physical health. Hobbies and leisure activities can increase your level of satisfaction and joy in your life. Other benefits include:

  • helps preserve cognitive and physical function
  • improve mental health
  • improve emotional well-being
  • promote positive feelings

Interesting facts

Japan and Italy are the top countries with the largest aging population.

Studies show that alcohol consumption is on the rise among older female adults.

A study of adults 40 years and older indicates that improving your steps to 8,000 or more can lower your risk of death from all causes by 51%.

Regular consumption of green leafy vegetables can slow cognitive decline.

The presence and buildup of beta-amyloid protein present in Alzheimer´s disease are common in older adults who experience inadequate sleep patterns for prolonged periods.

Quality sleep lowers the rate of heart disease, insulin resistance controls blood sugar levels and improves creativity.

Older adults who get less than 6 hours of sleep at night are at higher risk of developing dementia.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

1 in 6 older adults is physically abused.

There is a high suicide rate for white males 60 years old and older.

Struggles and stumbling blocks

Things to be aware of

Mental Health

Mental health can affect older adults. It may not be easily detectable. Help is available for anyone suffering from mental health issues, so please reach out and get help if you need it.

Depression

Depression is not a normal part of aging, but it affects about 1%-5% of the elderly population.

Stress

Changes in lifestyle and financial changes after retirement, among other factors, can cause stress.

Loneliness

Loss of loved ones and social isolation, these life changes can make it difficult to maintain social connections, and loneliness is a real struggle for older adults. Repairing broken relationships with loved ones and building social connections are great ways to combat loneliness.

Conclusion

Older adults are a valuable asset to every society as pillars in the family unit and volunteers in their community. It is possible to age healthier a healthy lifestyle offers you a chance to grow older and enjoy a rich, fulfilling, and rewarding life.

You can grow older gracefully with an active lifestyle, full of meaning and purpose and without constant pain and sickness in your body.

Your body can be a machine that revs up energy and is full of vitality or a breeding ground full of weakness, pain, and diseases. It is never too late to start making healthier and happier choices.

You may like

Are healthy choices harder to make than unhealthy ones? | Elevate Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Can diseases be prevented by a healthy lifestyle? | Elevate Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Best immune system boosters | Elevate Healthy Lifestyle Choices

2 thoughts on “Healthy Aging”

  1. Hi, I enjoyed your article on healthy aging as you covered things I did not know about, such as the DASH and MIND diets.

    I enjoyed; how thorough the details are as well as how you discussed healthy aging in a positive light vs. the oh-so-common negative views on aging.

    It was nice to read something that provides hope and insight into our senior populations.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Shannon, for your valuable feedback.

      We at EHLC want to inspire people to live their best lives by choosing a healthier lifestyle.
      Studies show that your view on something can have a significant impact on it. If you have negative feelings about aging, those thoughts can reflect those things in your life. The same is true about the opposite, positive thoughts about aging.

      You are correct; as a culture, aging, sickness, pain, and loss of dependence are all put into the same box.
      This doesn´t necessarily have to be the case. We can change that narrative.

      Older adults are a valuable asset to every society as pillars in the family unit and volunteers in their community. It is possible to age healthier; a healthy lifestyle offers you a chance to grow older and enjoy a rich, fulfilling, and rewarding life.

      You can grow older gracefully with an active lifestyle, full of meaning and purpose and without constant pain and sickness in your body.

      We hope you keep reading as we put out new articles weekly.

      You may like Can lifestyle changes affect menopause? | Elevate Healthy Lifestyle Choices

      Cheers,

      Admin

      Reply

Leave a Comment