For many people, growing older is a sore subject, especially when you can’t look in a drugstore or at a magazine rack without seeing “cures” for looking younger. The beauty industry makes its fortune on selling products that are supposed to prevent age lines and wrinkles, but what is so wrong with aging or looking older? Absolutely nothing! However, there is a way to age gracefully—not so that you look younger—but so that you feel your best physically and mentally as you age.
Take Care of Your Skin
We certainly aren’t recommending that you invest hundreds of dollars in products to make you look younger, but it is important you take good care of your skin. That means regularly wearing sunscreen and protective clothing to prevent skin cancer, getting annual skin cancer screenings, moisturizing, and staying hydrated.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Food is medicine. A healthy diet is one of the keys to aging gracefully and preventing diseases. Stay away from fatty, sugary, salty processed foods as much as possible, and stick to whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones strong.
We certainly aren’t suggesting that you need to run marathons, but a healthy amount of exercise is necessary to look and feel your best. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to chronic illnesses and diseases, so getting that brisk walk, swim, or yoga session in 3-5 times per week will help you stay healthy. It’s also a great stress reliever, it helps with mobility and balance, and improves sleep. Getting in a mixture of physical activity is a great way to strengthen your muscles and bones.
Monitor Your Stress Level and Prioritize Your Mental Health
Far too often we focus on our physical well-being and we don’t take into consideration our mental well-being. A huge part of aging gracefully consists of monitoring your stress level and taking care of your mental health. You can reduce your stress levels by practicing meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. It can be hard to accept the aging process, but maintaining a positive attitude can do wonders for your outlook. Take the time to do the activities you enjoy and spend time with friends and family. Talk to a therapist if you need coping mechanisms or help managing your stress.
Get Your Zzzs
If you want to maintain optimal health, you need to get your sleep. How much you need is dependent on your age, but if you notice that you aren’t sleeping enough or your sleep isn’t restful, it’s time to make it a priority. It provides your body the healthy reset you need, and helps lower your risk for certain health problems, like obesity, depression, inflammation, heart disease, and stroke.
Staying social as you age is incredibly important. Isolation in older age can be detrimental to your health. Join different groups to make sure you’re communicating with other people. Engage in new hobbies. Reach out to your friends and family. You’ll be happier, less depressed, and more likely to live longer.