You are as Old as You Feel – Tips to Age Gracefully

The saying goes – “It is later than you think” and it is best not to waste a moment of time in our precious lives. However, growing older can be a meaningful and exciting phase in your life if you try and follow some of the following tips from people who have lived well into their nineties.

  1.  Where there is a will, there is a way – A study undertaken by the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement on 660 individuals 50 years and older, found that the self perception of stigmatized groups can influence longevity.  Embracing aging with a positive attitude can add approximately 7,5 years to your life. Look at life as being like a ‘cup half full as opposed to half empty’.
  2. Don’t lose your sense of childlike awe – Children see the world in such a simplistic manner and through their unique curiosity, sometimes find the simplest things to be amazing.  Open your eyes and see the beauty in the world and savor the simple gifts in life.
  3. Create a sense of purpose – Older adults who have a sense of purpose with goals and expectations, have more of a desire for life.  Waking up each day knowing that you have what to achieve, makes life more meaningful.  This could include activities such as volunteering at a hospital or giving of your time to others.
  4. Take on a new hobby – You are never too old to try something new.  Keeping your brain stimulated and active is one of the best ways to ward of brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s and keep you feeling young.  Taking on a new hobby such as painting or gardening, or learning a new career can be very stimulating and rewarding.
  5. Be adventurous – Step out of your box a little bit and do something adventurous or out of the norm for you.  Travel to a new destination or try something that sounds intriguing like riding a horse for the first time or going skiing.
  6. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep – It is important to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night.  Bad sleep habits, including going to bed at a very late hour can have a negative impact on your health and increase your risk for developing various illnesses.
  7. You are never too old to learn something new – At the age of 87, Joyce Lowenstein returned to Georgia State University to study a degree in art history.  She will graduate in 2017.  Keep your brain stimulated and active – it is one of the secrets of staying alert and sharp as you get older.
  8. Quit Smoking – Besides putting you at risk for developing diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer, smoking ages you inside and out.  Stop the bad habit and change to a healthy smoke-free lifestyle.
  9. Exercise Regularly – Exercising increases the production of dopamine in the brain.  It is a ‘feel-good’ chemical which helps keep you positive and upbeat. Maintaining a regular exercise routine also strengthens your body and helps keep illnesses at bay.
  10. Eat a healthy diet – Eating a healthy diet by incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats, whilst reducing meat and sugar, can help nurture a strong body and mind.
  11. Stay socially connected – It is important to build and work on relationships and friendships.  Some examples of staying socially active include attending bridge clubs, seniors meetings, family functions or just having lunch with a friend.  Some of the benefits of being socially adept as a senior includes keeping loneliness and depression at bay, maintaining your independence, staying mentally stimulated and reducing the risk of developing mental health issues.
  12. Get an Annual Physical – Taking care of small health issues when they crop up can prevent them from developing into larger issues as you get older.  Take care of your health – prevention is better than cure.
  13. Develop a skin care routine – Aging gracefully is the key to your beauty.  Don’t put on too much make-up, it can cake up in your wrinkles and draw unwanted attention.  Natural is beautiful – be proud of who you are. Make sure you take care of your skin with sunscreen during the day and a night cream in the evening – it need not be a very expensive brand, but it is important to put on moisturizer daily.
  14. Mind over matter – Think positive and it will be positive.  Our minds have an unbelievable control over our bodies.  Try and be positive, feel positive and think positively about yourself, how you feel and what you can accomplish with your life.  Surround yourself with and develop good relationships with positive people  – it will affect your outlook on life.
  15. Practice Gratitude – Whether it is sending a thank you note or making a quick call, showing your appreciation does not only make the giver feel good, but can also benefit you.  Expressing gratitude for all the things that you have opens your eyes and gives you a new sense of appreciation as to how fortunate you are for even the small things in life.
  16. Sometimes the simple remedies are the best remedies – There are different remedies that octegenerians and nonagenarians (person in their 90’s) believe have helped them reach old age, including eating chicken soup which has long been touted as the best medicine for a cold.
  17. Keep on working – Seniors who have continued working past their retirement age have said that working has helped keep their mind active and alert.  Interacting with customers and fellow workers helps stave off boredom, loneliness and gives them a sense of purpose.
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