Today’s older adults are healthier and more active than any generation before them. You may have heard the phrase, “70 is the new 50”, and it’s true! Americans are living longer, healthier lives, and it’s changing the way society views retirement and aging.
September is Healthy Aging Month, designed to encourage older adults to focus on the positive aspects of aging and remind people that it’s never too late to focus on health, wellness, and happiness. Brickmont Assisted Living, offering senior living services throughout Atlanta, is sharing some tips to promote healthy aging and how you can enjoy some of the best years of your life!
1. Eat Well
Eating well is one of the best and most effective things you can do for your health and well-being. It is associated with longevity, brain health, and even a more positive mood.
With all the flashy diets and health buzzwords popular today, sometimes understanding nutrition can be confusing and overwhelming. Good nutrition is not about low-carb or plant-based; it should be about a comprehensive, balanced diet. With the obvious exception of health restrictions and allergies, you should eat foods that provide nutrients, energy, and that you simply enjoy.
A properly balanced diet that promotes healthy aging includes:
- Plenty of vegetables and fruits (some of the best are dark leafy greens and dark berries)
- Whole grains, like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice
- Lean meats and proteins, like salmon or eggs
- Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and peanut butter
- Low-fat dairy products, like milk and cheese
While these are good guidelines to follow for a healthy diet, it’s important to remember not to restrict yourself from enjoying food. If a meal is delicious, don’t be afraid to go for seconds, and gladly accept that piece of cake at the birthday party!
2. Stay Active
Another habit crucial to healthy aging is physical activity. This doesn’t mean you have to start running marathons or become a bodybuilder; simply moving more can do wonders for your physical and mental health. According to the CDC, physical activity in older adults can help reduce the risk of falls, reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease, help maintain healthy muscles and bones, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. In short—it’s essential in promoting healthy aging.
Getting started with exercise can seem intimidating, and you may not know where to start, but, like healthy eating, it’s about exercising more—not having a perfect workout routine. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for America, older adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. This equates to going on a 30-minute walk a day or attending a yoga class three times a week.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into your life and routine is to do something you love! Whether it’s swimming, hiking, dancing, or even something unique like active video games, anything that gets you up and moving is good for you and promotes healthy aging.
3. Stay Connected
Eating well and staying physically active aren’t the only things that contribute to healthy aging. In addition to doing both of these things, it’s also important to remain socially active as you age, as well. Numerous studies have been conducted that link a healthy social life to physical health benefits like reduced blood pressure, a decreased risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and reduced risk of mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
Many older adults struggle to build social relationships—according to a 2018 AARP survey, 35% of adults 45 and over are lonely. While it can be intimidating to put yourself out there, there are many opportunities to meet people of similar backgrounds and interests. Senior living communities, like Brickmont, with locations throughout the Atlanta area, are great places to meet people who share similar stories. Other great places to meet people are exercise classes, art classes, or other events or programs.
4. Check-in Regularly
Another vital habit associated with healthy aging is visiting your doctor regularly, not just when you’re sick. Preventative care, including services like immunizations and certain screenings, can help ensure you’re healthy and can aid in the early detection of conditions and other problems, finding them when they are easiest to treat.
5. Be Positive
As we get older, certain things can make us feel down or sad about life. However, there are many things to be grateful for, as well! And, as it turns out, there is power behind this idea of positive thinking. Experts continue to explore this concept, but there is evidence that optimism and positive living can contribute to healthy aging, longevity, and overall well-being. Some simple ways to incorporate positivity into your life include:
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Smiling and laughing more (even if it’s fake at first, it can turn genuine)
- Spending time with family and friends
- Prioritizing self-care
- Being in nature and fresh air
- Learn to accept the things you cannot change
Live Your Best Life
Aging is something that happens to each of us, regardless of background, race, religion, nationality, or career. So instead of fearing it - embrace it! September is Healthy Aging Month, and we encourage you to live your life to the fullest through healthy habits and positive outlooks.
Brickmont Assisted Living is dedicated to enhancing the lives of aging adults and their families. To discover more about our senior living communities in Atlanta or senior health and wellness, we invite you to visit the Brickmont blog!