Getting older is not easy and I can say that as a person who is in the midst of it.
As you age, it is critical that you keep your mind, body, and spirit in top condition. A few simple habits will ensure you travel the road to your eldest years without losing the greatest (and most important) parts of who you are!
Step One: Keeping Your Body Happy as You Age
Your body is going to begin to deteriorate but you can slow this process down! You can protect your cells, keep the degeneration to a minimum, and maintain the power of your body. As you age, your bones, heart, and senses might begin to weaken but it isn’t too late to take action.
Strength, flexibility, and balance are crucial as we get older to prevent falls or disability.
Incorporating exercise as early in life as possible will help but it is never too late to start! Taking up exercise has been proven to slow the loss of muscle and bone mass, preserve the heart, and maintain blood sugar levels.
You don’t have to get crazy about exercise but being consistent is a must! Thirty minutes a day of low impact yoga, swimming, or walking will do wonders head to toe! There are even exercises you can do from a chair to help you build stamina and work your way back to positive body movement.
Don’t neglect your diet! Drinking plenty of water is even more important as you age and if you want other beverages, avoid sugary fruit juices or sport drinks and opt for a cup of tea or coffee. Sweeten with a bit of honey but try to avoid the chemical-filled artificial creamers.
Eat more vegetables, lower your inflammatory carb intake, and make sure to eat plenty of healthy fats in the form of olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef. Keep junk food and fast food off the menu!
Being physically healthy means that you will maintain independence – a particular fear of people my age and older. No one wants to be dependent!
Step Two: Keeping Your Mind Happy as You Age
Doctors are so focused on the physical symptoms of their older patients that they often overlook their mental deterioration. Slower reflexes, less energy, lower libido, or feeling sluggish when it comes to basic thought processes are a few common “side effects” of getting older.
Keeping your mind sharp aids your physical health so don’t neglect your beautiful brain!
Exercise will help so find a way to get moving for half an hour every day. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps improve reflexes.
Play games (really)! Games that force you to remember trivia, demand proper spelling, or even boost your creativity keep the mind from becoming inflexible. Don’t shy away from new knowledge or experiences! Do your best to keep expanding your mental horizons with a new hobby, trying a new author, or taking a class you always wanted to take. Travel if you can and engage in conversation whenever possible.
Daily meditation is an excellent tool for keeping the mind fit. As much as your body must have exercise, it must also have peace. Time to relax, reflect, and repair the tolls of the day. There are many different styles of meditation and many yoga teachers incorporate it in their cool down.
When it comes to brain health, I can’t stress the importance of getting enough sleep. Check out my article on the importance of sleep and how you can improve yours right now! No matter your age or state of health, quality sleep can make or break your progress!
Step Three: Keeping Your Spirit Happy as You Age
Feelings of isolation, dependence, and even regret can rob your later years of joy. Just as your negative emotional health will cause your physical and mental conditions to worsen, bringing your spirit up will improve them.
Friends and loved ones are important but if you don’t have them in your life, consider joining a local community group, introduce yourself to neighbors, or take up a hobby that interests you. If you are homebound, connect with friends and family through social media.
Do everything possible to keep your thinking positive. Believe in the power of positivity and your mind will eventually embrace it as fact. Being optimistic is a powerful tool against disease and infirmity. “Think happy thoughts” is more than new age wisdom! If sadness or painful memories try to intrude, it is critical that you forcefully redirect your thinking to a positive memory, an experience, or something that you are looking forward to in the future.
Watch movies that make you happy, read, and listen to music. Even watching adorable baby animal videos is a proven mood enhancer so get going with that technology!
Part of aging that is wonderful is freedom.
You no longer feel the need to apologize for things that are not your problem. You can gently (but firmly) refuse to do things that are not in your best interest. Toxic relationships, selfish people, or stress has no place in your life at any time but especially when you’ve made it so many decades down your own road.
Aging can be scary but it can also be pretty incredible to look back at everything you’ve seen and done, events you witnessed, people you’ve known, and love you’ve shared.
Find the right mix of things that help you maintain your happiness as you age. Today is the first day of the rest of your life (and mine) so it’s important not to waste one minute!