Growing older chronologically can be an energizing and satisfying time of exploration, growth, and reduced stress. You learn to focus on what’s really important to you as well as what you won’t let bother you anymore. It’s a time of gratefulness for the life you’ve had and the people you love. With these steps, you can live onger and feel better. Give yourself the best chance for aging gracefully so you feel great even 10 years from now.
Live longer feel better
We all want to turn back the aging clock – stop the balding, gray hair, wrinkles, and health concerns. While there are lots of products out there to help reverse the effects of aging, let’s look to the science of it all so you can create a roadmap to live longer and feel better.
There’s research available that shows those who live the longest, around the world, have a number of things in common, including:
- Having a low rate of obesity and tobacco use
- Getting regular physical activity
- Managing stress and not dwelling on problems
- Having a positive attitude on life
- Staying connected and having a social network
- Having some form of spiritual practice
How many of these are true for you?
Is it time to let go of some of your bad habits and start “training” for the years ahead? Could you benefit from reframing those negative thoughts, getting more sleep, finally giving up smoking and increasing your level of physical activity?
Research shows there are steps you can take today to reduce your chances of battling chronic illnesses as you age, so you can age gracefully and feel young even 10 years from now.
- Healthy eating specifically a Mediterranean diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Work toward your optimal weight.
- No tobacco use.
- Listen to music.
- Focus on brain health.
- Lower stress.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Live a life of gratitude.
- Sleep more.
It’s never too late to take that first step. Focus on a few of the items on this aging checklist at a time. Wondering where to start? Focus on the top four. According to a Johns Hopkins study, those four factors led to a 80-percent lower risk of premature death from all causes.
According to the research, these lifestyle changes will keep you healthy and slow down the aging process inside and out.
That way you can enjoy the things that truly bring you joy as you age. Perhaps it’s volunteering, traveling, spending time with your grandchildren, golfing or starting your own business.
Whatever you dream of, it’s possible if you focus on your well-being.
Your health is not guaranteed, especially later in life. Give yourself the best shot at healthy aging so you’re not yet another person battling chronic disease the last five to ten years of your life.
Mediterranean diet benefits for aging
The Mediterranean is not just a place to travel to when you retire, it’s a place to think of when you’re making food choices.
Johns Hopkins found the Mediterranean diet is one of the four factors that reduce your risk of early death by 80-percent! That’s a huge benefit, and probably the best way to slow down aging.
If you want to live a long and healthy life, change what you eat and make other healthy lifestyle choices too.\
The Mediterranean diet also benefits menopausal women, which is another sign of aging.
It also helps with dementia and according to a Spanish study, reduces heart disease risks by 28-30 percent.
People who eat a Mediterranean diet typically have healthy cholesterol levels, absorb blood sugar better, have flexible arteries that are more resistant to plaque, and experience a reduction in damaging inflammation.
On a Meditteranean diet you eat lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, and fish. You eat less meat, sugar, and processed foods.
So, what are some simple swaps? Johns Hopkins experts recommend oatmeal with fruit and milk instead of bacon, eggs, or pancakes. Use olive oil in your dressings and make salad a staple. Instead of the chocolate pie for dessert, choose fruit.
Looking for some healthy recipes? Johns Hopkins has those too.
Our motto at PeopleTweaker is to take “small steps.” Make one healthy swap at a time. Work on your diet one meal at a time, then your exercise and so on.
How exercise slows down the aging process
We all know the value of exercise in our life, no matter our age. It plays an even more important role as you age, even improving the health of your brain. Something you worry about as you get older.
In a TED Talk, Dr. John J. Ratey, MD, talks about the power of exercise. He found marathon runners sidelined by an injury not only got depressed but had other side effects from not running like an inability to pay attention.
Running was a form of medicine, and they realized this after they got hurt. Exercise is so powerful and improves the state of your mind and body so much, Ratey uses exercise as treatment.
Duke University researchers also found people with depression saw as much short term improvement as they did on medication with 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week. The turnaround happened in 16 weeks, in this study of patients with major depression. Plus, continued exercises helps prevent depression from coming back according to researchers.
Of course, talk to your doctor first but listen to the positive impact of exercise.
Ready to see how exercise can transform your life? Explore the mind-body connection further in Spark by John Ratey, MD. He has many success stories including a school in Illinois that dramatically improved its test scores.
Exercise ideas for seniors
When you’re aging and battling more healthcare concerns, exercise may become more physically difficult. Exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous activity like running or weight training. There are benefits to moving even if you choose a low-impact activity.
These are some exercise ideas for seniors:
- Tai Chi
- Aging Backwards
Tai Chi focuses on breathing and slow movements to improve your health, mind, and well-being. It’s an effective exercise for older adults. It’ll help you clear your mind, lower your anxiety, and keep your body healthy.
The National Council on Aging also recommends Essentrics®. It’s a workout that focuses on lengthening and strengthing muscles in the body so you’ll have greater mobility and strength.
The Council sells an Aging Mastery kit with Tai Chi and Essentrics instruction.
Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde-White is another resource for slowing down the aging process. She believes that aging well, without the worry of disease, isn’t good luck and it’s not something you have to accept. Esmonde-White encourages older adults to do something about it like keeping your body young. She has a series of exercise videos targeted at your posture, pain relief, an increase in energy, protecting your bones, and weight loss.
While you’re exercising and eating better, focus on your optimal weight. There are several ways to find this including your BMI or Body Mass Index. Getting enough exercise in our busy lives is possible if you set your mind to it and make it a priority.
Stop smoking to live longer
Tobacco use is one of the four factors that reduces your chances of living a long and healthy life. It’s never too late to stop smoking. You’ll feel better quickly.
While small steps help you overcome challenges with success, sometimes smokers kick the habit all at once. Whatever approach you take, find and lean on a strong support system.
Consider the reasons why you smoke. Does stress trigger your cravings for a cigarette? If so, learn ways to manage your stress and relax your mind and body throughout the day.
It’s mind over matter when you’re battling an addiction, whether it’s smoking or something else, and mindfulness can help you focus on the present rather than the past when you grabbed a cigarette.
How music improves your brain health
Music soothes the soul, and it also helps your brain and your health according to research at Johns Hopkins. Research shows music lowers anxiety, blood pressure, and pain. It also improves your sleep, mood, mental alertness, and memory.
There are many benefits of listening to music because your brain works hard to understand and make sense of the sounds you hear. You may not think you’re exercising your brain, but it’s happening.
Try a new instrument, listen to music with your grandchildren, or attend the orchestra.
So, what are you waiting for? Turn on your favorite playlist not only when you’re working out but to relax and promote your healthy lifestyle.
Stress and aging
When you think of retirement, stress-free is probably a word that comes to mind. You envision a life of travel, no deadlines, and no work demands. However, as people delay retirement and work longer there’s a chance stress will be in your life longer.
Plus, retirement has it’s own stressors. Medical issues become a bigger concern, caring for sick loved ones, dealing with the loss of close family and friends, financial longevity can lead to stress as you age.
No matter your age, stress management is critical but even more so as you get older and you’re less resilient. Your immune system may not be as strong, so the last thing you need is stress.
Studies show stress speeds up the aging process through changes to our DNA. Stress can come from many forms – work, chronic depression or anxiety.
The American Institute of Stress points out that stressed-out individuals can suffer from memory loss as early as their forties.
Think about your own body. When you’re stressed, you may sleep less which impacts the bags under your eyes. There are noticeable physical impacts when you’re stressed. The physical impacts of stress are many as your body tries to cope.
Make a conscious decision to lower your stress. Turn to the benefits of music. It’s good for the soul and your brain. Exercise more. It’s good for your stress levels and also your health.
Focus on the present moment rather than the past and future which you can’t change. Practicing mindfulness, just five minutes a day can have a profound impact. Start with these 4 powerful exercises to lower your stress.
Explore what causes your stress, and focus on lowering it each month. Be Less Stressed guides you through 12-months of stress-management so it goes away and stays away. ays aw
Age gracefully with gratitude
Finding gratitude in your life is one way you can lower your stress and live longer. Plus, it has other benefits too.
Gratitude is proven to improve your well-being and happiness. It can also improve your sleep and immune function, both important as you age. If you’re dealing with a chronic illness as you age, gratitude can change your perspective and lessen the grip that pain has on your life.
Consider a gratitude journal to begin reflecting on all your life blessings.
Why you need more sleep
How much sleep do you get? Probably not enough. Insomnia may increase as you age. According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, 44-percent of older adults experience a symptom of insomnia at least a few times a week. Even though you’re likely working less, you still need your sleep during retirement.
Sleep studies show older adults take longer to fall asleep, experience less REM sleep, and wake up more during the night. So, what’s the cause? Part of it is aging, but researchers also found illnesses and medications used to treat them are to blame too.
These are the most effective ways to get more sleep, and it starts with a good nighttime routine.
How old will I be 10 years from now?
The answer to that question depends on your lifestyle.
Take small steps. Every little positive change helps in the long term, like walking to meet a friend for breakfast, or spending some quiet time in nature alone with your thoughts. Ask yourself daily what you’re doing, or not doing, to change your life for the better.
None of us can stop the years from passing (and they seem to be whizzing by faster and faster!) What are you doing, or what can you start to do right now, to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible as you move into a second or maybe even a third act?
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