Healthy Aging – Could Your Spouse Affect How You Age?

by ProfKeith

The person you choose to go through life with is one that should not ever be taken lightly. Finding common ground regarding personal and professional goals, belief systems, and family is one that requires a partner, not simply a spouse.

Working as a team is critical to true happiness. New research published in Psychology and Aging proves that healthy aging of your significant other can even affect how you age.

The population of adults 65 or older is more than 35 million in the United States.

Many factors influence your quality of life. Maintaining physical health, guarding brain function, and remaining socially active are keys to experiencing life to the fullest even in oldest age. No matter your years, the vow “through sickness and in health” is often overlooked. No one wants to think about getting sick or watching the person they love go through serious illness.

By 2030, the elderly population is expected to double.

According to a study done on more than 8,000 couples by the University of Arizona, your health and wellness depends on the healthy aging and brain function of your significant other.

Gender makes no difference. Men are as affected by their spouse’s health as often as women are. Loss of cognitive ability affected men slightly more than women but both genders showed measurable impact.

The average ages of the couples were their early sixties and study researchers collected data over the course of six years. Participants were of average health and cognition at the start of the study.

University psychologist, David Sbarra, explained, “Our findings suggest that for older adults, a larger part of individual well-being is defined by our partner’s health and cognitive functioning.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated cost of healthcare will rise by 25% in the next 15 years due to the aging population.

“If you have people whose physical health is low… their husband or wife is the one who may have to adjust and help with their partner’s new lifestyle,” explained University of Arizona doctoral student Kyle Bourassa.

5 Tips to Promote Healthy Aging

1. Diet excuses are just that…excuses. You know this one. I’m a fanatic about diet. Ditch the junk food, keep alcohol consumption down to one glass per day or less, lower your intake of “healthy” grains, break your addiction to refined sugars and flours, refuse anything made with or in hydrogenated oils, and don’t buy anything that comes in a box or is a “ready-made” food product. Forget “low-fat” or “sugar free” because the chemicals that replace fat and sugar are worse for your body! Period. Increase your intake of healthy fats (wild-caught fatty fish, coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter), green tea, leafy greens (kale, spinach, and greens), fruits and vegetables (especially berries), enjoy cacao and red wine in moderation, and don’t be afraid to spice things up with garlic, turmeric, and rosemary.

2. Sleep eight hours every night. Stop making excuses about why you “don’t have time” for sleep. Your body and your brain need it desperately. Sleep is when your cells rejuvenate and if you deny yourself what you need eight hours of, it impacts brain cognition, mood, and overall quality of life. It’s okay to sleep. You need it and the world won’t fall apart if you get it. New research has concluded that prolonged sleep deprivation drastically increases your risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

3. Exercise a little every day. There are hundreds of options to add exercise into your daily life. There are low-impact choices such as yoga and tai chi as well as exercises that can be done from your chair. At the end of the day, there truly is no reason you can’t add exercise into your life gradually. Take a walk, stretch often, and know that you are giving your body the tools to fight disease, promote core strength, and improve the way you feel inside and out. Bonus: exercise increases your body’s production of growth hormones that promote youthful cells, improve libido, boost energy, and control weight.

4. Kick stress out for good. Chronic stress will destroy your cells one by one. It leads to chronic inflammation, autoimmune disease, and is a verified root cause of every serious disease or illness known to the modern world. Whatever is happening in your life to cause you stress, it is time to take back control. Accept that some people, places, or situations are simply bad for you and are counter to everything about healthy aging. Lose those negative relationships and circumstances by making a rational plan to change your life. You have the power to stop stress – and it’s long-term destructive side effects – and improve your quality of life.

5. Meditate for a healthier mind. Take time every day to consider the good things in your life. Give those positive vibes the chance to sink in and make you feel incredible. A strong mind aids in a strong body. Deep breathing during meditation is excellent for your lymphatic system and taking time out to relax helps to lower your blood pressure. From your head to your toes, you’re going to feel the benefit of meditation. If there are things you wish to change about your life, practice visualization techniques to help you make a plan to get you there. Meditation isn’t religion or new age, nor is it a brand new concept. Some of the most brilliant minds in the world take a small “time out” to focus. It will help you just as it helps them.

Healthy aging leads to successful and fulfilled elder years. Take steps today to evaluate your health, your thought processes, and your environment. It is never too late to change lifestyle habits and promote a more youthful life that helps you live longer and stronger.

You just might be ensuring not only your health but also the health of the person you love.

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