How To Stay Healthy As You Age
As we get older, time tends to take a toll on our mind, body, and soul. The experiences we’ve gone through in life have made us happy, sad, or angry at times, and it can wear us down.
No matter who you are and what you’ve been through, we all get a little older every year. If you find that you are growing older year after year and don’t feel content, then these tips will help you stay happy and healthy as you age. This is the perfect way to help transition your mind and body back towards a positive lifestyle without too much effort.
Pay Attention to Your Words
There is a difference between “being old” and “getting older.” One is a fact (“I am old”) and the other is the acceptance of continuing the journey (“I am getting older”). There is nothing wrong with either, but when you “get old” you feel old! So don’t go there.
There is only one alternative to getting older and that is death. It’s not a pretty comparison, but it’s true! So if you mourn during every birthday, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You can be 50 or not be 50. If those are my options, I’m going with being 50.
There’s a lot to do in this life and when you have decided that you “are old,” you are giving yourself an excuse to give up. You deserve better, so give yourself better.
Have a Social Life
Even if you are an introvert and not really into going out for a huge social event, having a social life will help you stay happy and healthy as you age. Keeping a close group of friends who know you and love you regardless of life changes – or anything else that can go awry in life – is the perfect way to keep your mental health upbeat.
If you don’t have activities with your friends every week, create some. Start a book club where someone different hosts once per month. Meet up each week for a card game or Mahjong. If you are a beer connoisseur, gather with the friends to try a new brewery each month. If you are a movie buff, create a standing movie time each week where whoever can attend does attend. There are thousands of options, you just have to take the first step.
Be Physically Active
As we age, so do our bones, joints, and muscles. Each of us probably has a trouble spot in our body that makes it difficult to get out of bed easily or up off the couch the way we used to. We’re all familiar with that snap, crackle, and pop!
Even if you are in perfect health with no major aches and pains right now, being physically active on a daily basis helps ensure your body stays healthy as you get older. Go swimming, play some tennis or racquetball down at the gym. If that is too much physical activity for you, try taking a walk every morning or evening. Do this on your own, with your family, or start a neighborhood activity time. It’s a great way to get closer to your neighbors!
Check Your Food
The older we get, the wiser we become (or should become) about our food choices. There are many food adjustments that will help you stay healthier as you age. Consider swapping out some bad food choices with a few good ones. Have baked sweet potatoes for dinner instead of regular potatoes. Go for low-fat peanut butter instead of regular. Choose a Greek yogurt over a traditional yogurt. The flavors don’t change much, but hopefully your body will recognize the differences.
Want to try something that you’ve never done before with your food? Take a month of giving up red meat – or giving up meat altogether. Try to eat a gluten-free diet or a vegan diet and see how it affects your body. Often times, we have eaten a certain way so long that we forget that there are potentially better diets for our body. Not every diet is for every body (and I do mean every body), so listen to what your body is saying as you eat. It is the best way of calculating what is working and what isn’t, you just have to listen closely.
Have a Purpose
Human beings feel happiest when they have a purpose in life. We used to be hunter/gatherers and homemakers, but the world has become much bigger. You should have something that you’re passionate about other than your family. Whatever it is, start pushing forward in your mission of making it a priority.
Have you always loved children? See if you can volunteer to read or play games at a hospital or rehab facility. Do you love art? Start taking classes at your local center. (Groupon is a great way to find classes!) Have you always loved film? Look for film festivals in the states around you and plan a trip. Do you enjoy traveling? Rope in a friend or join a trip with a local organization (like a church, temple or community center) to see the world.
When you have a purpose in your life that really matters to you, you tend to live a happier and healthier life. You have things to look forward to – which is a key to aging gracefully. It becomes less about “being old” and more about looking to the future. You have a mission, a passion, and a drive.
While aging is a fact of life, there are ways to stay healthy and happy as you are doing so. Age is just a number as long as you treat it as such. It is never too late to start something new, so make a decision that today is going to be the first day of the rest of your life and go out there and live.