Humanity seems obsessed with aging gracefully, but in truth, no one wants to age at all. There’s nothing you can do to prevent growing older, however, so we might as well accept it. What we can do is work to be as healthy as possible during our senior years, living our best lives and having the physical and mental wellbeing to enjoy them. Here’s how to age as gracefully as possible.
1. Take Care of Your Skin
The skin is our body’s largest organ, designed to protect the cellular structure from elements, regulate temperature and deliver sensation. Keep it looking and working at its best by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when you’re outdoors, getting yearly skin cancer screenings, staying hydrated, and using gentle products in your skincare routine. Treat yourself to grounding baths and reduce your exposure to electromagnetic fields.
2. Stay Active and Fit
Exercising regularly can significantly reduce your risk of diseases such as heart malfunctions and cancer. It also reduces stress, improves your ability to sleep, as well as your mood, mobility, skin, and bone health. Exercise also helps to get your microcirculation going, which carries oxygen to your tissues and helps boost the regeneration of new growth.
3. Watch Your Food Intake
Watching your food intake is vital for aging gracefully. Not only do you want to remain as healthy as possible, but avoiding obesity is key to keeping conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes at bay.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you get most of your nutrition from fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or canned, and lean protein such as fish and beans.
Other healthful foods include three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta every day, three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt, or cheese fortified with vitamin D, and healthy fats and oils.
4. Protect Your Mental Health
Contentment and managing your stress help you to live and age well. Keep your mood elevated by spending time with pets, friends, and family. Work to maintain a positive attitude about aging and stay as mentally active as possible. Engage in activities you enjoy, such as hobbies, volunteering, sports—anything that brings you joy and boosts your mental wellbeing is good.
5. Avoid Stress
One of the biggest enemies of growing old gracefully is stress. Use relaxation techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercise, and therapy to manage your stress and maintain a positive outlook on life. Getting enough restful sleep is also vital for handling stress, improving concentration, and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep your alcohol intake to a minimum to avoid making stressful situations even more challenging.
6. Maintain Your Oral Health
This one might surprise you, but far too many seniors are at high risk for gum disease, which is linked to both physical and mental health conditions. Brushing twice daily, flossing each day, and using a mouth rinse are a good start, but a regular dental checkup, cancer screening, and professional teeth cleaning will help you feel (and look) better.
7. Get Regular Medical Care
This is one of the most critical factors in aging gracefully. Don’t wait until you’re sick to see a doctor. Schedule a regular annual exam with your family physician and ask for referrals for bloodwork, bone density screening, mammograms, PAP smears, and prostate exams. Have a colonoscopy if your physician recommends it, and address any health concerns the moment they arise.
The Last Word
Although getting older is inevitable, many people find it challenging to handle the issues that arise. If you’re concerned about your physical or mental health or have difficulty staying optimistic about aging, it’s essential to speak with someone you trust. A family member, close friend, physician, or counselor can help you improve your mental wellbeing.