The conversation around aging is finally starting to change.
Folks are talking less about “looking young,” and are increasingly interested in “aging gracefully.”
Part of this trend is because more of us are aware of the dangers associated with agism and are changing society to better embrace folks at every age.
It’s great to see people take a more healthy approach to age, but it’s still worth noting that not all of the baggage that comes with aging is welcome.
So, while wrinkles and silver hair are worth embracing, there are still a few steps you can take to minimize the effects of aging and ensure you age with grace.
By now, you probably know that your diet plays a vital role in your health and happiness. However, for folks who are getting older, you might want to consider making a few small changes to your diet to ensure that your intake is appropriate to a slower metabolism.
The best way to modify your diet when aging is to work with a licensed dietician or nutritionist. They’ll help you identify the best route forward for you and your diet, and will probably recommend that you take in more nutritionally dense foods that are slightly lower in calories.
Of course, you should also aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet, as interventions to eat better quality foods have been found to improve quality of life and extend older folk’s lifespans.
There are no “magic elixirs” that will keep you young, but there is good old-fashioned water. Water plays a vital role in all our bodily functions and helps you find the steady energy you need to do other health-conscious activities like walking or yoga.
As you move into older age, your risk of dehydration may increase. This is because, as we age, our kidneys become less effective in managing water intake and balance in the body. If you regularly find yourself feeling dehydrated, you should probably speak to your doctor as they will be able to help you find a healthy balance and may spot underlying conditions.
However, many of us simply don’t like the “taste” of water. This is usually due to poor water quality in the home, rather than water having a specific “taste.” To improve your water quality, you can install a water softener in your home, or can simply use a water filter that you keep in the fridge. This improves the quality of your water, and cold water will be “tasteless” compared to your tap water.
Regular exercise is good for your health. However, from an aging perspective, not all exercise is equal. This is because some exercise can be high impact, and can lead to overuse or acute injuries.
So, if you’re trying to establish a new exercise routine, it might be a good idea to start with low-impact sports or classes which pose little risk of injury to your body. You can discover these kinds of exercises by working closely with a PT who specializes in training older adults, or you can take up activities like swimming, as the water will support your body weight and may be better for joints than running or cycling.
Kick the Habits that Age You
There are plenty of preventative steps you can take to minimize the effects of aging, but none will be effective if you are engaging in unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking to excess, or eating too many sugary foods.
That’s because, smoking, drinking, and sugary foods are all associated with poor health in old age. Habitual consumption of these addictive substances over many years can lead to disastrous health outcomes in old age, as your internal organs will not function correctly and your cardiovascular system will suffer.
At best, this will cause cosmetic conditions like varicose veins — a condition caused when the valves in your veins fail and allow blood to pool and take on a “spider web” appearance. At worst, regular consumption of tobacco, sugar, and excessive alcohol will lead you to an early grave as your chances of cancer, heart failure, stroke, and Alzheimer’s skyrocket.
Of course, overcoming these addictions is incredibly difficult. For many getting off sugar, alcohol, or tobacco represents the challenge of a lifetime. Your best course of action is to get in touch with a medical professional who you trust and will support while you try to improve your health.
Having a positive outlook on life does more than improve the quality of your conversation. Research shows that those with an optimistic, resilient mental approach to life’s challenges have an average lifespan around 10 – 15% longer than their peers. So, the next time you feel deflated or negative, try to turn that attitude around to find silver linings or things to be grateful for.
It’s good to know that a positive outlook improves the quality and length of your life, but the reality is that many people suffer from depression as they age. There is no quick-fix solution to overcoming age-related depression, but the right support from therapists and medical professionals can get you headed in the right direction.
There are thousands of anti-aging marketing schemes that you can find on the web or in pharmacies and beauty salons. Only a rare few of these treatments are actually supported by a modicum of science, and fewer still will make a meaningful difference to your anti-aging efforts.
Among the most common anti-aging treatments are Botox, injectables, and fillers. These treatments divide opinion, as many folks find synthetic treatment to be completely opposed to the idea of “aging gracefully.” The reality is that only you can decide if you want to go forward with some form of medical treatment. Just ensure you visit a reputable cosmetic doctor or plastic surgeon who has your best interests at heart.
By taking a proactive, health-conscious approach, you can minimize negative effects and ensure that you live a healthy, active life while aging with grace.