If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
There are certainly many things about growing old that are difficult and unappealing, but it doesn’t all have to be that way.
It might be obvious that taking good care of your physical health as you age warrants some excellent benefits. But, the benefits may be just as sweet when you prioritize your mental health as well.
Below, we have some great ideas on keeping a healthy body and healthy mind as we age.
3 Key Factors for a Healthy Mind
1. Stay Flexible and Grateful
As humans, we have a tendency to like things the way we like them. This can work against us when change is necessary – and change is a necessary part of aging. If we keep a flexible mindset, we’re able to focus on what is good and more adaptable when we need to be.
Also, it’s important to try to find healthy ways to cope with challenges. Express your emotions – burying disappointment and despair can lead to anger, resentment, and depression, and frankly, can make a challenging situation much worse.
The practice of gratitude keeps our minds away from the negative and more mindful of the good and beautiful things around us. Being grateful for even simple things – the sun on your face, the laughter of children, or a delicious dessert can add so much perspective to your life.
2. Find Meaning and Joy
Perhaps what once brought meaning and joy to your life isn’t what it used to be. Maybe it was a job, fulfillment in parenting young children, or even particular relationships that are no longer front and center.
Life’s later chapters can still bring fulfillment and joy – it just may take a bit of chasing after it. It might look different and it might be found in something new or unfamiliar.
Be willing to take a risk and try a new hobby, learn a new skill, or make a new friend. Doing something to help others can be extremely fulfilling – knitting baby blankets, sending encouraging words to a pen pal, or cooking a meal are a few simple and meaningful ways of finding joy.
3. Get Moving
Here is a groundbreaking statement – aging involves physical changes within your body. True, and no surprise to anyone!
But aging doesn’t have to mean pain, discomfort, disability, or illness. Caring for your body is arguably the best thing you can do for yourself as you age with benefits including:
- Sharpening your memory
- Boosting your immune system
- Managing health problems
- Increasing your energy
Maybe you’ve made exercise a priority throughout your life. If that isn’t you, adults who take up exercise later in life often show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts as they aren’t encumbered by injuries that many regular exercisers experience as they age.
Similarly, many older adults report feeling better than ever because they are making more of an effort to be healthy than they did when they were younger.
A recent Swedish study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years.
Still, maintaining a healthy mind is only half the battle. Let’s take a look at ways to maintain a healthy body.
3 Key Factors for a Healthy Body
1. Keep a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Try to emphasize fruit, vegetables, and whole grains and include lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts into your everyday meals. Try to avoid processed meats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
A balanced diet helps keep your systems functioning properly, can boost energy levels, and is one of the very best ways to feel better into your latter years.
2. Visit Your Doctors
If (or when) problems arise, big or small, make it a priority to see your doctor. Don’t keep it to yourself and let things fester. Little problems can easily become bigger problems. Your friends and family will be so thankful that you're making doctor's visits a priority.
3. Stay Active.
Even 20-30 minutes of light to moderate physical activity a few days per week can have tremendous benefits on your physical health including:
- Reducing the impact of chronic conditions
- Improved balance and coordination
- Improved sleep
- Improved self-confidence
- Improved immunity
So, get that body moving – it’s not too late!
Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge as we age. You may feel discouraged by health problems, aches, and pains or concerned about injuries or falls. Start slow and make gradual adjustments to your exercise routine.
Regardless, the best thing you can do is start now. Not sure where to start? Download the OOMPH app and get moving today!