Growing older doesn’t have to mean growing less healthy. With a few simple tips, you can maximize your health and age gracefully. Here’s how:
Take a daily walk.
Regular exercise is an important part of staying healthy at any age. If you have an established exercise routine that gets your heart-rate up, then just keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re new to building a regular exercise routine, just 30 minutes of walking each day can help boost your mood, manage your weight, strengthen your bones and improve your sleep. The World Health Organization recommends that people 65 and over engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Put it into action: Take a morning walk around your neighborhood, hop on the treadmill at your local gym, or join some friends for walking laps around the local mall.
Loneliness isn’t just unpleasant, it’s also bad for your health. Numerous studies have found that isolation and loneliness, especially among older people, is correlated with great mental and physical health problems — and even higher mortality rates. Staying socially connected, it turns out, is one of the secrets of successful aging.
Put it into action: Volunteer weekly for a cause you care about. Join a community class to learn a new hobby. Get more deeply involved in your spiritual community. Continue to reach out to family members and old friends while also cultivating new friendships.
Get enough sleep.
As people age, many will find that they don’t sleep as well as they used to. The National Sleep Foundation reports that older people are more likely to fall sleep early and wake up early. They’re also more likely to experience insomnia. A good night’s sleep is an important part of feeling energetic, both physically and mentally.
Put it into action: Talk with your doctor to make sure you have no underlying medical problems that are negatively impacting your sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine and naps. If you’re falling asleep too early, try afternoon exposure to bright light, either by walking outside or by using a light box.