You can't stop yourself from getting older, but you can ensure you live your happiest and healthiest life. Healthy aging is all about taking care of your body, eating right, and getting good sleep.
Many people perceive aging as a horrible thing to avoid, and that's not fair. Life is a natural cycle; no one should feel ashamed about aging.
But there is a difference between getting older and aging. Healthy aging is where you support and condition your body, so it feels and functions its best.
Keep reading to learn our top tips!
Healthy Aging Tips: Ensuring Your Body Doesn't Age Faster Than You Do
You don't have to feel bad just because you're getting older. By eating right, taking care of your body, and getting a good night's sleep, you can start the process of healthy aging.
But what exactly does this mean? Below are a few ways to maintain your body and protect yourself from illness and injury.
1. Eat a natural and plant-heavy diet
What you eat has a significant impact on your body and lifestyle. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet increases gut bacteria that support healthy aging.
Diets high in plants and low in animal products may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. A study also concluded that the Mediterranean diet curbs mental decline and frailty.
These benefits may stem from increased vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
This diet focuses on traditional foods from areas along the Mediterranean Sea. It's popular because people from these areas are incredibly healthy.
The Mediterranean diet has no strict rules. But it does promote fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats. You should try to steer clear of processed foods, added sugars, and refined grains.
Loading your plate with more fruits, veggies, and less meat improves gut health. In turn, this can improve almost every area of your health.
2. Practice regular resistance training
Eating a balanced, plant-heavy diet can help resist frailty, but you shouldn't depend on this alone. This diet, paired with regular resistance training, can improve your bones and mobility and is vital for healthy aging.
Resistance training may sound scary, but it can be as gentle as you make it! It tones and maintains muscles by doing more repetitions with lower weights.
The benefits of resistance training include:
- Stronger Bones. The repeated movements stimulate bone-forming cells. This means your bones will become denser and better able to support your body.
- Increased Muscle Mass. Resistance training tones your muscles. This provides you with more strength to support your daily activities.
- Better Balance and Daily Functionality. You need strength, balance, and flexibility to complete your daily tasks. Resistance training supports these.
- Improved Quality of Life. Regular resistance training can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Without being able to move freely by yourself, you can suffer more injuries and have a poorer quality of life. That's why it's beneficial to practice resistance training.
3. Maintain and improve flexibility
Resistance training benefits your body, but stretching may be even more important.
Stretching is key for preventing sore and achy muscles. A regular routine can improve mobility and flexibility in your muscles and joints. This reduces your risk of injury.
Stretching and resistance training have great benefits, but they aren't quite enough. Experts recommend you do 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Some great ways to achieve this goal include:
- Walking. It needs zero equipment, and you can do it whenever, wherever.
- Yoga / Tai chi. These both help with balance, flexibility, and strength.
- Swimming / Water aerobics. These are great for those with muscle or joint pain. The water also offers natural resistance.
Stretching, combined with these activities and resistance training, provides many benefits. It can improve your circulation, muscle control, balance, and coordination. You should aim to stretch your major muscle groups for at least 10 minutes twice a week. Each day you do cardio or resistance training, you should also perform stretches.
4. Get adequate sleep
Living a healthy life is incomplete without proper sleep. You can follow a healthy diet and exercise as much as you want, but you won't achieve healthy aging if you don't sleep well.
Getting enough good sleep may help:
- Lower risks for heart disease and stroke
- Reduce stress and depression
- Lower risks of obesity
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve focus and concentration
All these benefits are possible because your body repairs itself overnight. Indeed, as you sleep, your body rebuilds muscles and removes the day's toxins from your brain. Sleep is also essential for keeping your memories intact.
If you don't get enough sleep, your body struggles to regulate essential functions. These can include appetite control, your immune system, metabolism, and body weight.
But how much sleep do you actually need? It varies per person, but most adults need 7-9 hours while those over 65 need 7-8. Your sleep quality also impacts how rested you feel and how many of these benefits you receive.
Aging can be fun and healthy. Eating a plant-heavy diet, exercising, stretching, and sleeping well can all improve how you age.
- More Good News About Mediterranean, Plant-Based Diets and Your Gut Health. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-good-news-about-mediterranean-plant-based-diets-and-gut-health
- Mediterranean Diet 101: A Meal Plan and Beginner's Guide. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan
- A Healthy Aging Guide to Strength Training and Stretching at Home. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/healthy-aging-guide-to-strength-training
- The Importance of Daily Fitness for Seniors. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/senior-health-active-lifestyles
- Stretching Exercises for Seniors to Improve Mobility. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/senior-health/stretching-exercises
- How to Live Your Best Life as You Age. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/aging-gracefully
- How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need? Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-sleep-you-need