Tips for Healthy Aging

The most important thing when it comes to healthy aging is not to wait until you're already older to start taking care of yourself. Simple habits, such as exercise and a healthy diet, are decisive.
Tips for Healthy Aging

Last update: 15 July, 2021

Healthy aging is possible as long as you take the right measures early on. As you can see, old age isn’t necessarily synonymous with illness and discomfort. Indeed, there’s naturally some deterioration, although it doesn’t have to be as severe.

Life expectancy has increased worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of people over the age of 60 in the world will nearly double between the years 2015 and 2050.

Currently, many elderly people lead active and fulfilling lives. However, all of them had to age in a healthy way to get there. Thus, we all must adopt better habits that minimize the natural decline of our bodies and mind.

Healthy aging

A woman looking in the mirror.
Aging is a natural process that involves physical and psychosocial changes.

Aging is the effect of the accumulation of molecular and cellular damage. Furthermore, it leads to a decline in physical and mental capacities, while generating an increased risk of disease. Age isn’t always the factor that causes it though.

Old age also comes with several psychosocial changes. The most prominent of these is the end of working life and the gradual reduction of the social circle of peers. All these changes are relative as people age in a healthy way. Ok but, what factors influence healthy aging? Let’s find out.

The biological factor

Clearly, the biological factor has an impact on aging, but let’s not generalize. Some 80-year-olds are healthier than some 30-year-olds. This is strongly influenced by genetics but lifestyle in particular.

In any case, it’s common for there to be a loss of sharpness in the senses, more musculoskeletal problems, and chronic diseases as people age. Depression and some forms of dementia are also more common.

The environment

The environment is decisive for healthy aging and has an impact even before birth. It’s actually closely related to the acquisition and maintenance of appropriate lifestyle habits and has a significant influence on people’s mental health.

Also, environments either facilitate or hinder the performance of daily activities such as the use of public transport, for example.

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Health care and healthy aging

Not everyone has equal access to healthcare. Thus, this deficit accumulates throughout life and influences the quality of life during old age. At this stage, the availability of health services is a determining factor and isn’t always available.

WHO advocates for chronic care systems in all countries and all people. Efficient governance, infrastructure, and trained personnel are required for it to be possible. As you can imagine, all of these together can significantly improve the quality of life for older people.

Stereotypes and discrimination

A common misconception is that older people are dependent and unproductive and therefore a burden on society. It leads to discriminatory attitudes against them in many cases. This, in turn, makes it even harder to age in a healthy manner.

State action

Governments are also a factor that either favors or hinders healthy aging. Attention and timely response to the needs of older adults influences the quality of life at that age.

The state must participate in the issue. In particular, it needs to offer solutions to the elderly in conditions of deprivation or vulnerability.

Tips for healthy aging

A happy couple.
Healthy lifestyle habits, such as a balanced diet and regular physical exercise, contribute to healthy aging.

Several aspects are key to healthy aging and have to do with habits and attitudes that promote quality of life. The most important are:

Physical activity, a must for healthy aging

Do moderate physical activity every day such as walking. Specialists recommend half an hour or the equivalent of 5,000 steps a day. Some applications can help you measure it.

Moving around keeps your muscles in shape and regulates body weight. Ideally, these routines should begin at an early age and you must maintain them forever.

A balanced diet

Diet is a determining factor for good health. The diet must be varied and balanced, with a high content of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. The more natural and less processed foods are, the better. Try to reduce your intake of excess fats and sugars.

Less stress and more healthy habits

Stress isn’t good at any stage of life. Thus, aging healthily means knowing how to enjoy the present and being at peace with yourself.

Hobbies, reading, inspiring conversations, and meditation practices are excellent alternatives to attain balance. It’s important to give up or decrease consumption of harmful habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

Participate and fill your time

Just as in childhood, playing is important in old age. It isn’t only about socializing and having a good time but also keeps your cognitive abilities active.

Try not to isolate and so participate in community life. Frequent friends and do activities with them. Also, learn new things, go out for walks, and spend time on creative and productive pursuits, all of it’ll help you age healthily.

Healthy aging is possible

This is something you can maximize when you prepare early for it by adopting a healthy lifestyle before reaching old age. The earlier you build healthy habits, the more quality of life you’ll have later on.

Many people complete their most cherished dreams in old age. It’s always possible to take a long and enriching trip, win an Olympic medal, write a book, or graduate from college. It isn’t an age for a decline, but to accomplish other dimensions of life.

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