September is Heathy Aging Month! This is an annual observance that was created more than 25 years ago by Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging ® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®. The main goal of this observance is to promote physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing, as well as focus national attention on the importance of healthy aging. As stated by Worthington, it is never too late to take control of your health, to try something new, reinvent yourself, and push past the stereotypes and the negative aspects associated with aging.
How to Celebrate this Year
2020 has been a stressful year so far, to say the least. With the impact of COVID-19 remaining for the foreseeable future, now is the the perfect time to focus on our health and start making healthy lifestyle changes. Use this month as an opportunity to take stock of where you’ve been and what’ve you’ve accomplished so far, and ask yourself where you would like to go from here. It could be athletic goals, such as to start training for your first 5K, 10K, half marathon or even a full marathon! There is so much more to healthy aging than your physical health, though. Try setting goals that improve your mental, financial and social health as well.
Healthy Aging Tips
Listed below are 10 lifestyle changes you can start incorporating into your life to promote healthy aging!
1. Exercise Frequently: Regular workouts can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis pain, and even anxiety and depression. For the best results, incorporate aerobic exercises, balance exercises, strength training, and stretching into your weekly routine.
2. Walk More: The more your body moves, the healthier it becomes. Gary W. Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center, suggests scheduling times everyday to walk. It could be a brisk walk at lunchtime or nightly walks with your family. Either way, you are getting more exercise and reducing stress. A great goal is to work your way up to achieving 10,000 steps a day!
3. Eat Whole Foods: This is a lifestyle change to the way you eat and think about food, it is not just a short-term diet. Focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts, and less fatty meats, butter, sugar, salt, and processed foods. Research shows healthy, balanced nutrition helps you live longer and protects against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Stay Connected: There are numerous studies that show that those who have strong relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. Studies also have proved social interactions reduce the risk of depression and dementia, as well as lower stress levels. For tips on staying connecting during COVID-19, click here!
5. Don’t Smoke: In order to live a long, healthy life it is important to stop smoking, or better yet, never start! Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other products with nicotine harm almost every organ in your body. These products are directly linked to heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, and many other health problems.
6. Go To Annual Checkups: Visiting your doctor regularly helps them find potential health conditions or diseases before they become a problem. Early detection also gives you the best chance for getting the right treatment and recovering quickly with less complications. Preventative care is incredibly important when it comes to healthy aging, so make this month the time to set up your annual health checkups and screenings.
7. Stay Positive: Mayo Clinic research has proven that a positive attitude leads to a healthier life. Optimists have stronger immune systems, lower levels of cardiovascular disease and a longer life span when compared to pessimists. A positive outlook is not only good for your health, but it also improves productivity and performance in your everyday life. To learn how to achieve and maintain a positive attitude, click here!
8. Eliminate Negativity: Negative influences in your life can cause stress and a number of additional health issues. As hard as it may be, you have to eliminate those negative influences from your life. No person, even if it is a family member or friend, is worth sacrificing your health.
9. Have a Financial Plan: According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of Americans occasionally feel stressed about money, and 22% feel extremely stressed about their finances. Financial stress is linked to health problems like depression and sleep problems, so it is important to have a financial plan. Create and stick to a budget, have an emergency fund, and take money management classes if necessary.
10. Practice Self-Care: Self-care is any activity that makes you feel happier, calmer, or more mentally healthy both in the present moment and in the future. Practicing self-care improves your mood, reduces stress and anxiety, helps to strengthen relationships, makes you more resilient to stress, and overall allows you to feel your best both physically and mentally.
Remember, it is never too early or too late to start creating healthy habits and making changes to your daily routine. By following these tips, you not only increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life, but you will be able to fully enjoy of second of it! For more information, visit WebMD or HealthyAging.net!