Aging successfully is a topic that gets talked about a lot, but what does it really mean? Aging successfully is all about being in control of your life and making choices that feel right for you. It's about being able to be a part of your community, not just someone who sits on the sidelines.
It's about being comfortable in your own skin, no matter what stage of life you're in.
And most importantly: aging successfully is not an end goal—it's a process. There's no one way to get there; it's just something we'll all be doing until the day we die.
So how do we age successfully? We start by taking care of ourselves physically and mentally by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly.
We take time for ourselves so we can recharge our batteries and recharge our relationships with loved ones or take the time to build new relationships. And then we go out into the world… because if we don't use our bodies, they'll start using us!
There has been plenty of research on minimizing the risk of age-related diseases, by following incorporating exercise, a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, setting and achieving goals, and having strong social connections.
Exercise is fundamental for aging gracefully. No, it doesn’t mean you have to run every day or lift weights. It just means staying active, and having fun when doing so! Take a walk, chair yoga, pilates, or even dance! Physical movement keeps your joints moving, and your blood flowing, and it's a great way to decrease stress. Take this as an opportunity to explore new forms of exercise, or continue doing your favorite workout.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is critical in successful aging. Keeping low sodium and low cholesterol-friendly foods top of mind may put you at a lower risk for hypertension and high cholesterol. Having a healthy diet also improves your immune system and can put you at a lower risk for illnesses.
Getting a good night’s rest, ensures you are allowing your body time to recharge for the next day. It’s key to maintaining your key cognitive functions. Feeling well rested just feels way better than going through your day groggy. Lack of sleep can lead to a higher risk of depression, infection, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. Sometimes as we age, getting a good amount of sleep can become difficult. Take this as an opportunity to try mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation, Tai Chi, or yoga.
Setting and achieving your goals is important at any point in life. But as we age it’s important that we feel motivated, and fulfilled. Life is full of challenges and loss which are both inevitable but finding things that make you feel accomplished and happy make it easier to look at the glass half full.
Developing new relationships and maintaining your already existing relationships play a major role in your mental and social health. People need people. Increasing your social network helps combat social isolation and loneliness, which decreases cognitive decline, even depression. Not only is it beneficial for your health, but having people you can share your experiences with, and interests, make for a happier lifestyle. Making new friends can be a little scary but it doesn’t have to be. Chances are they’re for a friend too!
Aging can indeed bring on some challenges, like memory loss or physical limitations. But if you look at them as opportunities instead of problems, you'll be able to find ways around them and keep enjoying life just as much as you always have!