The secret to healthy aging is not in the number of candles on the birthday cake or the size of the crowd singing the birthday song but in your ability to celebrate it. Longer life is fulfilling, especially when good health accompanies you on your journey.
More days on Earth means more time to do the things you may have missed in your younger years. You can go on the dream holiday that your career kept from you, or spend time with your grandchildren and cultivate relationships.
Seniors have a reservoir of crystallized intelligence, which the younger generation values in times of need. Long-life will give you the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience as a consultant or mentor.
Most seniors spend their sunset years in a vegetative state, however. They need a helping hand instead of lending one, and the days tick over quickly.
If you can learn the secrets to healthy aging, your golden years could be as happy and fulfilling as your youth, and it is not as far out of reach as you may imagine.
What Is Healthy Aging?
As the earth orbits the sun, you are able to enjoy the beauty of changing seasons and reflect on some amazing experiences. You can accomplish so much with this kind of perspective. However, every rotation exposes you to environmental elements that seek to degrade your systems.
The limited time we have to achieve our goals compels us to work longer hours, sometimes without rest. While we are able to achieve a lot of success within our most productive years, our bodies tend to wear out quickly without sufficient rest and care.
The investments we make to create more wealth in our youth become the snare that steals our good health in old age. Within a few decades, the body slows, often earlier than we might have expected.
Wear and tear show up around thirty and continues from there. Some people experience a lot of suffering as they grow old, while others live to celebrate their retirement in happiness.
How you spend your senior years depends heavily on how much you invest towards healthy aging in the time before it.
Some of the changes that you may experience include:
- Stiffer arteries that force your heart to work harder
- Bones that become more fragile and susceptible to fractures due to shrinkage and density loss
- Worn joint cartilage, which causes frequent stiffness and pain
- Decreased muscle mass, leading to lower flexibility, strength, and endurance—effects could be taking longer to complete daily tasks and exercise
- Decreased bladder function, which becomes unable to hold more urine and results in more frequent trips to the bathroom
- Thinner, less elastic skin leads to wrinkles, laugh lines, sagging skin, and easier bruising
- Hardened eye lenses, leading to vision problems, such as farsightedness, cataracts, blurred vision, and blindness
- Changes in mental health, triggering depression (some call it a ‘midlife crisis’ without understanding what is happening to their bodies)
- Forgetfulness and an inability to multitask: you may start misplacing items, getting lost, repeating questions, and being unable to complete tasks alone
- Lower immunity that makes older people prone to illness, such as heart disease, lung disease, and stroke
While these changes are inevitable, you can delay the onset.
Health experts say that it is possible to develop and maintain functional ability as you approach your senior years. Eating whole foods, fiber-rich foods, fish, and reduced red meat intake has been found to be helpful.
Green tea also flushes out toxins and helps the body stay active while physical exercise ensures your muscles and bones remain strong.
Healthy Aging Takes a Little Effort
If you want to keep doing what you’re passionate about, you will have to put in the hard work. It means a deliberate effort to age healthily before you hit 65, which takes commitment.
Since wear and tear begin to show as early as 30, you should start working on healthy aging early in life.
How To Achieve Healthy Aging
Every time you add a candle to your birthday cake, it is your skin, muscles, joints, and brain that shudder. It doesn’t need to be this way, though.
While the beauty industry promises a youthful glow through anti-aging serums, surgery, and creams, lasting youth and beauty start far below the skin.
Youth comes with vigor, and while you may not remain young forever, you can maintain your strength and mental agility for healthy old age. The ability to continue daily chores and solve problems are some of the beautiful perks of aging well.
The good news is that you can still enjoy these benefits in retirement if you invest in healthy aging.
Here are seven ways to invest in your golden years:
1) Nutrition: Eat Well
It’s a repetitive mantra in the health industry because it is true—healthy lifestyles require a balanced diet.
As you grow old, your body stops absorbing certain dietary nutrients effectively, becoming prone to inflammation, organ problems, and deficiencies.
Turmeric and foods rich in curcumin are vital dietary components that reduce inflammation of the body and brain among the aged. The older community are also encouraged to incorporate fish oils into their diets, as it fights inflammation and maintains a healthy brain.
It is also essential to maintain and repair tissues. High-quality proteins, such as low-fat milk, chicken, lentils, eggs, lean meats, legumes, and fish, cover this requirement well.
Many people would like to have included ‘grow old until you are toothless’ into their birthday messages, but as they advance in years, it stops being a birthday card cliché and forms part of reality.
It does not always occur naturally among older people. Poor dental hygiene and unhealthy habits, such as high consumption of sugar, may accelerate the process and derail the dream of being young forever.
Delaying the loss of teeth is possible—avoid sugar and maintain good dental hygiene. An even better option is replacing sugar with honey or stevia.
While water isn’t technically nutritious, it accounts for 60% of the human body. Drinking enough water not only flushes toxins from your body, but it also keeps you hydrated and your skin supple, delaying the appearance of wrinkles.
You may also want to take foods rich in antioxidants, such as tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, almonds, and bell peppers. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that fight off chronic diseases and other signs of aging.
Reduce Calorie Intake
Aging slows down the body, so you need to be ready for a slower metabolism. You might be prone to sudden weight gain as you age, which is one of the common signs of middle life. Weight gain leads to chronic diseases, and other problems.
It is important to control your calorie intake and take plenty of nootropics as part of healthy aging. While fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein might be part of your diet, your body may not always be able to absorb the goodness from these ingredients effectively as you age.
2.) Vitamins and Supplements
You probably know that vitamin B12, and vitamins A, C, E, and D are important to your body, but did you know these minerals also promote natural beauty? Besides keeping wrinkles away by maintaining youthful skin, these substances contain antioxidants that help the body combat various diseases.
While Vitamins A, C, and E are easy to obtain from common fruits and vegetables, Vitamin D is only found through direct exposure to sunlight and in fortified dairy products.
A daily dose of 600 IU to 800 IU as you age usually requires that you add dietary supplements. Multivitamins, calcium, potassium, and magnesium supplements should be part of a senior’s diet in particular.
Probiotic supplements are rich in good bacteria, which promotes a healthy gut. It is a superfood, excellent for skin, hair, and nails, as well as boosting your immune system.
Studies also link probiotics to low skin PH levels, reduced stress, and low photo-aging. Evidence shows that probiotics can be helpful in preventing gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, even among patients who are on antibiotics.
Continued use of probiotics also reduces the cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, which can help seniors keep their weight in check.
You can find probiotics in normal food, such as Greek yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables. However, there is no sufficient evidence that older people reap these nutritional benefits from food alone. Rather, take a probiotics supplement to maintain a healthy gut and high immunity levels throughout your golden years.
3.) Move: Exercise and Strength
The human body was not made to be stationary. However, most people don’t enjoy physical exercise.
You need to find ways to stay active—a sedentary lifestyle puts seniors over the age of 70 at serious risk of imminent mobile disability.
Exercising builds strength and enables you to perform tasks faster. Various forms of exercise boost muscle flexibility while other activities build endurance. By exercising daily, you improve your mood, maintain a healthy body mass index, and burn calories faster.
Jogging, skipping rope, playing golf, pump iron activities (weightlifting), and a swim are fantastic activities for seniors. If you cannot do aerobics, walk every day for 30 minutes or help with chores, such as lawn mowing. Check out our list of the best exercise equipment for those us us getting on in life!
As you grow older, sit less and consciously engage in more physical activity. If you cannot walk alone, learn to use aides, such as a walking stick.
It is also wise to join a support group that engages in endurance, flexibility, and balance training to strengthen your muscles and encourage your resolve on the tough days.
4) Mental Agility
Exercise, good nutrition, and smart supplements are important for mental agility.
Nootropics are an example of non-FDA regulated drugs that have been obtained from natural sources, and there are almost no side effects. Studies show that the best nootropics, such as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), provide brain energy, and keep neurons alive. It is an amazing leap forward in preventing the adverse effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are other nootropics that help slow aging:
Found in black tea, it helps maintain focus, increase arousal, and reduce stress.
This nootropic protects the brain from disease and eradicates headaches. PPQ and ATP also boost the production of energy needed to maintain mental focus.
The root works directly on the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to reduce stress, improve focus, improve memory, and calm the senses.
Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea
Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea are ancient medicinal herbs known as “adaptogens” which enhance learning and memory, alleviates “brain fog,” and reduces fatigue, anxiety, and stress.
The eastern secret remedy helps keep your mind sharp and your vitality intact.
More Brain Work
Nootropics work differently for each person, and what works for you may not work as well for others. You should also seek medical advice before you start taking nootropics.
Another secret to a healthy brain is to keep learning. You may engage in brain games, such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and sudoku.
You might also be interested in our guide to the best brain supplement for adults.
Healthy habits produce a healthy population, and pollution, junk food, drugs, smoking, alcohol, and stress interfere irreparably with your natural balance. As you age, you need to avoid these distractions and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Why not take up Tai Chi to maintain a balance?
6) Sleep well
Sleep is the body’s janitor, cleaning up the brain, and removing waste that ages your system. As we age, insomnia becomes part of life due to diminishing melatonin levels, so it is crucial to find ways to enjoy a good night’s rest.
Melatonin supplements often help you fall asleep faster if you master the dosage. You will enjoy a complete sleep cycle each night, and the effects on your mind and body will be undeniable.
7) Connections or Relationships
Since we are gregarious, social creatures, isolation can leave us feeling lonely and depressed. Join support or training groups, and get involved in social causes that introduce you to new friends.
Do not forget your old friends and your family, either. These are often the people that give you the best social support as you age. An optimistic outlook also does wonders to minimize stress and promote brain health.
Healthy aging is the same as saving for retirement—it requires time, preparation, and hard work. If you want to enjoy your senior years, start putting measures in place now. It’s never too late to live a healthier life.