You’ve got the knowledge and experience that can only come with age —at
AGEIST we know these are powerful keys to building, and expanding, your best
life in any direction you want. Since no one has yet cracked the code to
growing younger, our efforts and energy is better spent making the most of our
years, and throughout our time at AGEIST, we’ve learned a handful of things
that might help you maximize your efforts.
It’s important to note that each person’s definition of aging successfully can, and
should vary, but there are a few key areas we can all likely agree that contribute
to our overall vitality and success as we age.
How to Age Well
Physically Healthy, Active Aging
Take care of your body, and your body will usually return the favor. It is physical first, and everything else follows. One of many takeaways from our healthy aging experience at AGEIST is that those who endeavor to remain, or get into, peak physical shape as they age experience a host of benefits like:
- Increased cardiovascular health
- Improved endurance
- Reduced risk for injury
- Better bone density
- High self-confidence
And these are just a few of the most common advantages to keep or get you moving. Even moderate amounts of activity, like walking or gardening, can help you experience some modest benefits. Walking is better than not walking, but a fitness-focused program is best. We are stronger than we are often led to believe. HIIT training and strength training are often thought of for young people only, but we find that some stress on the body is what keeps the body working well. Our advice? Work with a fitness expert to find the best way forward for your body.
Stretching and mobility become increasingly important with age. Yoga, Pilates, and mat-based mobility training will help activate your mind as well as loosen your body.
A Well-Aging Brain
Staying mentally sharp as we age is closely linked with our overall physical health – and for good reason. The science behind an active body and a healthy brain is resounding, so the more we move, the more we’ll be able to count on our brains keeping up with us. Move it or lose it! In addition to keeping, or starting, a healthy physical routine, there are plenty of other ways we can keep our brains healthy, engaged, and poised to perform their best as we age.
- Prioritize Sleep: more than perhaps any other factor, getting enough is key. The importance of sleep is well documented, and it can be a relatively simple change that yields big rewards for cognitive function and overall mental acuity. Focus on getting at least 8 hours a night (on average) and practice good sleep hygiene tricks like keeping technology out of the bedroom and using a ‘preparing for bed routine’ that stays the same each day and sets the stage for the most restful, restorative sleep possible. We find that 45 minutes of brisk walking before bed works wonders.
- Nutrition and Hydration: What we put into our bodies matters — as much as possible, be mindful of the food and beverages we eat and drink to support our brain and body health. It is often not about adding foods but avoiding eating health-eroding foods. Following a diet that includes a diverse range of vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains is a good place to start. For most people, the key is to keep the glycemic load low, but everyone is different, there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Listen to your body, and speak to knowledgeable professionals. Drinking plenty of water is another easy way to help keep our brains healthy and happy —start the day with 16oz of water before anything else. Carrying a water bottle is another great tool to make hydrating easier, and you will be saved from buying disposable plastic water bottles.
- Life-Long Learning! —Read, read, read. We have the capacity to learn tremendous new skills throughout our entire lives. Not only does this keep us engaged and mentally energized, the brain will be building new neural pathways.
Successful Aging Techniques: Healthy Habits
The more we’re able to program healthy choices into our daily routines, the easier they are to follow through on, and the easier it is to age well. Here are a few simple additions that can have big rewards when it comes to aging gracefully:
- Get out of the house and see something new. Say yes to shows, concerts, talks and all things that expand your world.
- Drink more water. (Yes, we’ve said it before. And we’ll say it again.) You’ll eat less junk plus your brain, skin, muscles, and just about everything else in and on your body, will thank you.
- Meditate. Even if it’s 5 minutes. Carve out dedicated time to calm your mind and slow your breath. It is a tremendously powerful tool.
- Walk more and take the stairs when you can. Everything works better when your feet are moving.
Make that phone call, return the text/email/voicemail. Connect with the people you care about. Don’t miss an opportunity to build and support your community. Face to face is the best.
Finding, and Engaging, Purpose & Meaning
Driven people are often the most long-lived individuals across societies and cultures. Having a clear sense of purpose, and a sense of agency in that purpose, does a lot of longevity’s heavy lifting. It also contributes to many of the aforementioned tips to aging successfully.
When you’re invested in your own life and have meaningful work to contribute toward helping others, that attitude can translate into not only a fully-lived life, but a long one. Aging well takes some conscious effort, but it is not impossible. A few simple steps will set you on the road to making a difference.
What are some tips you have for aging successfully? Leave a comment below.