How to age gracefully

In our modern culture, old age is almost synonymous with brutal decline with most people expecting just about everything to go wrong once they start getting old. While this view is not entirely wrong, it is certainly exaggerated. By paying attention to your body’s needs and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly, it is possible to not only maintain a decent quality of life but also keep medical disturbances at bay as you grow older.

Ditch the harmful habits

A young body is better equipped to handle many things that’ll wreck an old body. Staying up all night, eating unhealthy things and at odd hours, chain-smoking, hard-partying, and many more are par for the course when one is young. It is not unusual for older people to attempt doing any of these only to find that their bodies can no longer keep up. It is important, for a good quality of life, to accept this and start easing into old age early especially if you haven’t been practicing healthy living so far. Develop and keep to healthy, balanced diet and make sure to get not less than 8 hours of good sleep each night. Quit or reduce smoking and alcohol intake to the possible minimum. You don’t have to quit using tobacco if you don’t wish to, but as the years pile on it is advisable to explore healthier alternatives to smoking. Overall, cultivate habits that are more in line with the reality of old age.

Exercise

Considering the fact that older people have less energy, it might at first appear counterintuitive to advise them to exercise. But numerous studies have confirmed the health benefits of keeping physically active, from lowering the risk of disease to improving mental health and mobility. Muscle and bone strengthening exercises, balance training, and aerobic exercises like walking or swimming all play significant roles in keeping the body in shape and the benefits spill over to other areas such as improving quality of sleep and enhancing mood.

Mental health

For old folks, indeed people of any age, mental health is equally as important as physical health, if not more. Many struggle to maintain a positive attitude in old age, finding life less meaningful or rewarding. Such feelings might be impossible to eliminate altogether but in order to age well, it is necessary to keep these negative feelings from clouding your view by doing the things you love. Build a solid social support system by staying close to family and maintaining healthy friendships with people you can meet or talk to regularly. If you’re unable to physically spend time with friends and family, alleviate feelings of loneliness by getting a pet and spending time outdoors together. Another seemingly trivial thing that goes a long way is simply embracing the reality of growing old and trying to enjoy it rather than resisting or making futile efforts to stay young.

When it comes to dealing with aging, many focus on smoothening the inevitable wrinkles.  But aging is more enjoyable if one accepts the many changes it brings and rises to the challenge of minimizing the negatives while maximizing the positives.

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