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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Aging Process

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Everyone grows older, but aging doesn’t have to be a continuous downhill slide. Aging well is defined as the process of improving opportunities for participation, health, and security to enhance your quality of life. 

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What can you do to improve your aging process? Focus on three basic areas:

  • Physical Conditioning
  • Cognitive Care
  • Emotional Well-being

Maintain Your Physical Strength 

  1.  Grip Strength

According to a study in Clinical Interventions in Aging, grip strength is related to multiple health and happiness markers. Improving your grip strength can also improve your:

  • Upper Limb Function
  • Overall Strength
  • Fine Motor Skill
  • Cognitive Ability
  • Emotional State
hand squeezing a stress ball

Good grip strength allows you to age well and remain active and independent. To strengthen your grip strength, try this exercise:

  • Squeeze a squishy ball or tennis ball with all of your fingers 5 to 10 times.
  • Repeat using only your thumb and index finger.
  • Repeat using your thumb and each finger separately.
  1.  Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or underweight puts you at risk for chronic diseases, health conditions, potential falls and fractures. Doctors determine weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a calculation of your body fat based on your height and weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your weight status is determined by your BMI. The levels of weight status are:

BMI Weight Status

Below 18.5 – Underweight

18.5—24.9 – Normal

25.0—29.9 – Overweight

30.0 and Above – Obese

Researchers have determined that a BMI of 25 or more is a risk for chronic disease and poor health. To maintain a healthy weight, the CDC recommends that your diet contains:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Protein Sources
  • Low Fat
  • Low Sodium
  • Little Added Sugars

Lean protein sources include fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy products. Low-fat foods should be low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about how many calories you need every day and plan your diet within that allowance.

A diet that is recommended for just about everyone these days is the Mediterranean diet. The food is healthy and delicious. It’s definitely worth looking into.

  1. Keep Moving

Your activity level helps you maintain good muscle mass, strength, and bone density. According to a study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, adults aged 52 and older tend to have a decreased activity level, leading to poorer health outcomes. The CDC recommends older adults engage in:

  • 150 Minutes a Week of Moderate Intensity Aerobic Activity
  • 2 Days of Strength Training a Week
  • Activity as Tolerated

Talk with your doctor about what activities are safe for you, especially if you have any health concerns. Be as active as possible and increase your activity level as you grow stronger. Staying active helps you age well by improving your:

  • Posture
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Independence

Activity helps with sleep, too. Your body will want to sleep in order to rest and repair microtears you get when lifting weight or engaging in aerobic activity. Scientists have discovered a direct correlation between sleep and cognitive function, so exercise has benefits beyond being able to lift a gallon of milk.

Your Brain Needs To Be Worked Out, Too

  1.  Exercise Your Brain

According to a study in Scientific Reports, cognitive training improves brain function. The more you use your brain, the better your overall health and quality of life. Studies in the journals Nature and PLoS Medical show that good cognitive function may reduce the risk for dementia. Try exercising your brain with these activities:

  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Learn a New Language
  • Art Classes or Crafts
  • Nature Walks

Think about taking classes at a local college. There are many programs out there to help fund tuition for seniors. 

  1.  Socialize

As people age, the opportunities for social contact may decrease. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that one in four adults age 65 and older are socially isolated. The report also found that social isolation increases the risk for:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Dementia
  • Premature Death

You can improve your aging process by staying socially connected and active. You may find social connections through:

  • Joining a Book Club or Other Hobby Group
  • Volunteering – This can be anything from helping out with a food pantry to knitting caps for chemo patients, to animal rescue.
  • Writing Letters to Family and Friends
  • Email or Social Media

Improving your aging process helps you be more independent, increases your cognitive ability, and builds social connections. There are many simple ways to improve your aging process and quality of life.

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