The population of the world, as a whole, is living longer. It is thus essential to implement proactive steps to create changes at both individual and environmental levels, which can promote aging in a better way.
The concept of aging well is a fundamental requirement to improve health and well-being in order to enhance length and quality of life. Aging well highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping wellness on priority while growing older.
Here are 7 scientific tips that can help you age gracefully:
- Keeping physically active
It has been observed that poor health in old age is mainly caused due to the effects of multiple lifestyle choices, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking.
Regular exercising lowers the risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Several studies also suggest that aerobic exercises may improve the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Moreover, certain evidence have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical activity on aging at cellular levels, causing an increase in energy, flexibility and overall sense of well-being.
Various types of physical activity that can be done are:
- Simple exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga, weight lifting or a dance class possess multiple benefits as they can control weight, uplift mood, and makes you sleep better
- A 30 minute-walk every day, it can also be broken into shorter strolls
It has been recommended that an adult should do 2½ - 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1 ¼ - 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, or a combination of these two.
If you haven’t been exercising, discuss with your doctor about how you can get started gradually.
- Eating a balanced diet
Diet is shown to play an active part in how well you age. Nutritious diet helps in keeping an individual mentally sharp and gives energy to enjoy day-to-day activities. Eating a balanced diet not only helps you age well, but also prevent oneself against various diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
Numerous studies have shown that chronic illnesses, particularly auto-immune diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, can be associated with our diet, hence, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory components such as fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended.
In addition, avoiding processed food with a higher glycemic index can raise your BMI, increase your waistline, and raise your blood sugar. Enough vitamin D level is essential as it helps contribute to bone health as you age. Salt should be kept to minimum to prevent high blood pressure.
The recommended diet for aging well should include the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta
- Lean protein, such as fish and beans
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that contain vitamin D
- Focusing on mental health
Mental health is very crucial as happiness with less stress levels can help a person age gracefully and liver longer and healthier.
Various tips for improving your mental health includes:
- One should practice the habit of staying optimistic. Keeping a positive outlook can cure stress associated with life problems.
- One should stay connected as loneliness is harmful for your mental health. A lonelier individual has higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, linked to disorders like arthritis. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network enhance both mental and physical well-being and longevity.
- Learn to embrace different aspects of life with a positive attitude.
- Find new hobbies as exploring new and meaningful things can provide a sense of purpose and keep your anxiety levels to minimum. Keep yourself busy to lessen stress about things you can’t control.
- Getting enough sleep
The sleeping habit of an adult in this era has been greatly affected by changed lifestyle and work pressure. This sleep-deprived state in turn, leads to fatigue and premature aging of body cells.
It has been observed that insomnia is more common in older adults. Thus, sticking to a sleeping schedule is important as it can keep a body in sync for appropriate sleep. For an uninterrupted sleep:
- Keep the room a little cooler and dark
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening
- Avoid electronics before bedtime which emit blue light.
Usually sleeping hours are majorly dependent on your age, an 8-hours sleep is recommended for an adult for better mental and physical health. It has been reported that our skin cells build and repair themselves during sleep, and that’s why we feel renewed and rejuvenated.
Beneficial effects of appropriate sleep include:
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Reducing the risk of obesity
- Improving focus and concentration.
- Restricting smoking and alcohol consumption
Smoking and alcohol, both have shown many negative effects on the process of aging. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other products with nicotine can cause ailments like heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, etc. Similarly, limit your alcohol consumption to avoid risk of health diseases including liver ailments.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources that can help you quit. Seek the help of a healthcare professional.
It has been reported that your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette.
- Scheduling health tests on time
As you age, your body organs also age. The aging body organs are more prone to get diseased and less likely to repair themselves. By getting your health tests done regularly, you are keeping an eye on the aging body. This helps to identify any health condition at an early stage, and take action. Ensure to get a full body check up done twice a year.
- Maintain hydration
Hydration is vital to our bodies as drinking water regularly helps in releasing out toxins and aids in digestion. Additionally, it aids in sleeping better, and improves focus and weight loss. Adequate water intake can also help you avoid dry, flaky skin and fine lines, which in turn, can help your skin look younger.