Celebrating Healthy Aging Month
September 3, 2021 | Healthy Aging
Aging is a simple fact of life that should be embraced with a positive attitude, especially during Healthy Aging Month. In a youth-centric culture, sometimes it’s easy to feel uncomfortable about aging. However, we believe that seniors should celebrate aging and learn how to take charge of their own health and well-being. In the next chapter of your life, why not set goals and maintain healthy habits for your physical, social, mental and financial situations?
During Healthy Aging Month, we would like to share some healthy aging tips to help you age with a healthy body and mind.
10 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Focus on What is Important to You
Who or what makes your life meaningful? What kind of person do you want to be? Why is your health important to you? These questions can guide us to what is most important in our lives and where we want to focus our energy. It is normal to lose track of what is important to us or for our answers to these questions to change as we get older, so it can be helpful for us to reassess what brings our lives our meaning. Next, reflect on how you might move towards a life that incorporates these values more. When we have a clear sense of what matters to us and why being healthy is important to us, we are more likely to make other healthy habit changes in our life.
Staying active is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As we age, exercise helps our health, balance, mobility and more. Exercise can be adjusted to fit a variety of ability levels. Whether you choose to do strength training, a standing exercise, stretching or something else, exercise is a great way to stay healthy.
3. Eat Healthy
Healthy foods can be a powerful medicine. That’s why it’s important to have a well balanced diet and practice healthy habits. Try eating immune-boosting foods such as red bell peppers, broccoli and spinach. Make a healthy smoothie recipe to help you get essential nutrients, or drink herbal tea to reduce inflammation or better your immune function.
4. Attend Routine Doctor Appointments
It’s important to stay on top of your health — that is why you should never neglect routine check ups. At Iora, our healthcare team works to support your whole health. We take the time to listen to our patients to understand their health goals and concerns. Whether it’s an in-person or virtual visit, make sure you get the care you deserve.
5. Be Creative
There is a large body of research that links creativity with healthy aging. Start journaling or doodling for 10-minutes each day, attend an art class, cook, listen to music, or tend to a garden. Creativity allows you to be in the moment and find purpose in your life.
6. Socialize with Others
Regardless of where you are, it’s important to keep in touch with family and friends. Some ways you can stay connected are by chatting with loved ones via video chat, staying connected on social media, or even by sending an old-fashioned letter. If you’re a long-distance grandparent you can stay involved in your grandchildren’s life in similar ways. Feel lonely? Join an Iora class or call the Institute on Aging’s 24-hour toll-free Friendship Line at 800-971-0016. The Friendship Line serves individuals 60+ years old. Volunteers specialize in offering caring, friendly conversation when you just want someone to talk to.
7. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation has been found to be beneficial for both physical and mental health. Set aside several minutes each day and focus on your breathing. Notice when your mind wanders away from your breathing, and gently guide your mind back to focusing on the breath. Over time, mindfulness can help you to become more aware and intentional in your day-to-day activities, which can have huge benefits- improving your mood, health, sleep, stress levels, and more.
8. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep hygiene is an integral part of our overall health and well-being; however, our sleep patterns change as we age . A good night’s sleep relies on a consistent wake up time and a consistent bedtime routine to help you wind down. Look into how to sleep better at night with these 10 healthy sleep habits.
9. Reduce Your Stress
Finding ways to reduce your stress can benefit your health. According to the American Institute of Stress, chronic stress is widely believed to accelerate aging. Take time to pursue things that bring you joy. Often, when we are stressed, we feel too busy or overwhelmed to engage in stress-reducing activities. Try to make stress-reducing activities part of your routine or “schedule” them in like you would an appointment to be sure you commit to them. Stress-reducing activities might be practicing yoga, listening to music, reading a book or spending time outside.
10. Find a Hobby
Just like any muscle, the brain needs its exercise. One way you can keep your mind active is by trying out a new hobby. It’s never too late to try something new. Learn a new language, sign up for a virtual class, practice playing an instrument, try a new exercise, read a new book, complete a puzzle, or explore something else you’ve been wanting to try.
These tips cover the basics on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Although September is Healthy Aging Month, at Iora we celebrate healthy aging for seniors throughout the year. Our primary care teams take the time to work with each patient to achieve their healthy aging goals. Want to start a healthy habit, learn new ways to manage stress, improve your sleep, or learn more about mindfulness? Ask to schedule an appointment with the Behavioral Health Specialist on your Iora primary care team who can help you improve your health through behavior change.