Staying Healthy and Happy as You Age
There are many negative perceptions when it comes to getting older in America. The good news: the pessimistic perception of aging is changing. Most seniors feel younger than their actual age and a study that polled more than 10,000 seniors found that people grew happier as they aged.
The aging process doesn’t have to be as bleak as some make it seem. With the right mindset, you can shift your perspective on growing older to best enjoy retirement. With the right plan of action, you can ease the difficulties of the physical part of the process as well.
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What it is to Grow Old
Before diving into the effects of aging, it’s important to define what it means to be elderly and recognize that the number is always climbing. In the 1920’s, 55 was considered “old” – which is middle-aged by today’s standards – and 65 was considered “very old” or “elderly.” According to Social Security Life Tables, a woman today who is 73 is considered “old” and she is regarded as “very old” when she reaches 80. At the end of the day, age is just a mindset. In fact, a research team polled 6,500 men and women over the age of 52 to see how old they felt. About 70% felt three or more years younger than their age. When the researchers checked in on the respondents eight years later, 86% of those who felt younger than their actual age were still alive, compared to just 75% of those who felt older than their age.
Commit to Self-Care
Whether you’re 40, 60 or 80 years old, it’s always a good idea to practice self-care. Self-care involves identifying what you need to feel happy or fulfilled and engaging in those activities. From a weekly call with a loved one to ensuring you receive a full night’s rest, there are many ways to engage in self-care activities that don’t cost a lot of money. Patricia Corrigan, writer for NextAvenue, shares her top 7 self-care must-do’s as she copes with an aging mind and body.
The key to maintaining a long-term active lifestyle is finding activities you love. From dance to cycling, there are so many ways of having fun while moving your body. As you grow older, always be on the lookout for new activities you might enjoy. Not only will exercise improve your body and make you feel better about the way you look, but it will also reduce your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses.
Feed Your Brain
A healthy diet will improve your brain function at any age, but it’s especially important as you grow older. If you want to make this easy as possible, stick to whole, plant-based foods. Most prepackaged meals contain far too much sodium, which can cause high blood pressure. Instead, eat simple meals with ingredients like avocado, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, whole grains and legumes. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about possibly seeing a dietician to develop a meal plan suited to your individual needs.
More than anything else you do, keeping a healthy perspective is the key to aging happily. Researchers have found that the way we view aging dramatically affects how we age. The best way to grow younger each day is by maintaining a positive, future-oriented mindset.