If you’re looking to live a healthy lifestyle even into your older years, then you shouldn’t let your age be defined by the year you were born, but rather by the vitality you feel. There is no age limit on leading a healthy lifestyle. Keeping yourself physically, cognitively and emotionally well can help increase your vitality, helping you feel youthful for years to come.
As we age, many biological factors come into play that may alter our physical well-being. General aging is accompanied by changes in metabolism (see our article “Navigating the Changes of Nutrition Needs”), loss of muscle, bone mass and more. Yet, healthy lifestyle choices can combat these biological changes and help your body continue to perform at its prime.
Three core components of living physically healthy include diet, exercise and sleep. What you put into your body greatly determines how you’ll feel. Eating a diet dense in nutrients and varying in color and texture helps ensure your body has what it needs to keep moving. Vitamins and minerals affect our systems in multiple ways, so it’s important to eat a balanced diet to avoid deficiencies and stay at your physical best. For example, the mineral iron is linked to energy levels. Eating iron-rich foods can help break through sluggishness, making sure your body is ready for whatever lies ahead—like aiming for the recommended two and a half hours of exercise every week. Whether you enjoy going to the gym, taking walks, riding a bike, swimming or swing dancing, getting two to three hours of exercise per week has immense benefits for overall health. When you work your body, it’s important to rest just as diligently. Getting adequate sleep rejuvenates the body and the brain, reducing your risk of illness. The combination of good diet, exercise and sleep habits can keep you feeling healthy and young throughout the years ahead.
As important as it is to stay physically active, it’s just as crucial to exercise your brain to age healthily. Keeping your brain sharp can be achieved through daily activities, such as occupational or household tasks, but sometimes challenging your brain intentionally is important for sustaining your best cognitive health. Keep your synapses firing by doing puzzles or teaching yourself something new. Activating drowsy brain cells not only gives you the youthful experience of inspiration and creativity, but it helps to prevent protein deposits from forming in the brain, a condition that is often linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Aside from the physiological ways to stay healthy as you age, emotional well-being can contribute greatly to your quality of life. Choose a lifestyle for yourself that avoids anxiety and stress, as much as you can control. The people you surround yourself with often influence your emotional health. Being socially active is great, but it’s also important that your companions lift you up. Being around positive people can increase happiness by providing support and reducing stress. As recommended by Healthy Aging® Magazine, positivity can be your greatest tool in living a healthy lifestyle. Rather than looking to your future with worry, continue acting the way you did when you felt your best. Partake in engaging activities that bring you joy, start a new hobby, meet new friends and tap into the creative parts of yourself—and never forget that there’s so much life left to live!