Empty nesting? Retired? This should be the time of your life that you’ve worked so hard to earn. If you want to enjoy these golden years, you need to live a healthy lifestyle that supports your overall well-being for more years to come. Check out these five ways to promote healthy aging for the mind, body and soul.
Even with healthy aging, older adults may experience a modest decline in mental function, such as the ability to learn new things or retrieve information. Attention and memory may also worsen, according to the National Institute on Aging. Engaging in intellectually stimulating activities and cognitive training can help preserve healthy brain aging.
Elders may sharpen mental skills with traditional brain games such as word searches and can even create custom word searches to exchange with friends and family. For the tech savvy, apps like Lumosity and Brain Fitness Pro can improve cognitive performance. The apps Happily and ReliefLink enhance psychological well being and functioning, which helps with stress and anxiety management to support healthier, happier aging.
Protein & Veggies
A healthy diet improves health and simultaneously slows down the aging process. Dr. Keoni Teta, co-founder and developer of the book “Metabolic Effect Diet,” emphasizes filling a nutritious diet with protein and vegetables. The body’s biochemical processes require protein, the most important macronutrient and antioxidant that needs to be replaced daily.
Veggies are rich in the anti-aging molecules phytonutrients, along with high fiber and low sugar. This killer trifecta in vegetables contains strong anti-aging effects and promotes total body health. Also, drink plenty of water and minimize sugar intake to help support long-term wellness.
Designed for movement and activity, the body not only requires but yearns for exercise. Many aging adults take on cardio to improve heart health or interval training to build cardiovascular endurance. Resistance training though significantly fights the aging process by lowering levels of myostatin. Lowering myostatin helps increase muscle mass and strength and prolong lifespan.
Strength training paired with high intensity interval training (HIIT) optimizes anti-aging activity. These complementary exercises support the anti-aging process by activating fast-twitch muscle fibers, improving bone health and helping to prevent sarcopenia.
Meditation & Mindfulness
Along with anti-aging games, diet and workouts, introducing anti-aging therapy into the daily routine may reduce stress and its harmful effects on the aging process. A study by Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, psychiatrist and researcher, found that, in comparison to non-meditators, long-term meditators had longer telomers (the protective caps on ends of chromosomes); short telomers are linked to accelerated aging. The ability to focus on the present moment is also connected to longer telomers.
Meditation can increase the body’s production of melatonin as well. Melatonin is an anti-aging agent, antioxidant, antidepressant and immunoregulator that helps with better sleep, slows cell damage and inhibits the growth of cancerous cells.
An increasing lack of family and social connections throughout the years can lead to social isolation. Factors such as living alone, retirement, death of partner, family and friends and immobility create declining social contacts. Not only may loneliness increase risk of death or alzheimer’s disease, but it can cause cognitive decline, poor health, long-term illness and depression.
Secure mental health and longevity with social connectedness. Volunteering at a local dog shelter, mentoring disadvantaged youth or participating in environmental projects can help build relationships. Volunteering creates connections with the community as you offer your talents and stay physically active. Fitness and activity centers also provide a thriving social environment. If you’re an animal lover, adopt a pet. A dog provides unconditional love and companionship and can give you a sense of purpose.