Some things about growing older are amazing, like moving forward in your career and watching your kids grow. But growing older also can mean aches, pains and other maladies that make it less appealing.
The good news is that you can still feel younger as you age by taking care of yourself. These tips from Arrin Larson, program coordinator at the HonorHealth Bariatric Center, can help.
- Keep learning: Being intellectually curious — learning new skills and interests — will stimulate your brain. Take classes, read books, do crosswords, play Scrabble. These activities can help maintain your memory and lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Maintain social relationships: Having strong ties to family, friends and a community can buffer or reduce some health-related effects of aging and stress.
- Maintain autonomy: Individuals who learn how to maintain their independence as life changes will age successfully. Take risks and make choices for yourself.
- Get involved in spiritual practice: People who age consciously tend to engage in some type of spiritual practice such as mediation, yoga, church or other spiritual practices. Even a walk in nature can help to center and balance your spirit.
- Get preventive medical care: Schedule annual medical exams, wear sun protection and schedule tests that may be required based on your age or risk factors. It is better to prevent disease than to treat it.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is when your body regenerates. Go to bed at the same time each night. Incorporate some relaxation techniques before bedtime. Avoid excessive alcohol before bedtime and avoid computer/tablet/phone screens in the bedroom.
- Form healthy habits: Eat a healthy diet, maintain an exercise routine, drink in moderation and don’t smoke. If you’re struggling with unhealthy habits, find support; enroll in a class to educate yourself.
- Exercise: Stay active! Make time each day to move your body. Whether you stretch, go for a walk, take an aerobics class, or play with your kids, grandkids or a pet, movement is essential. Exercise should be moderate and consistent. If you need help incorporating exercise, seek support from a friend or a professional.
- Maintain a healthy weight: This will slow down the aging process and allow you to live your life to the fullest. Ninety-five percent of people who maintain their weight successfully one year after weight loss are exercisers.
- Have a sense of humor: Why live longer if you’re going to be unhappy? Humor is contagious; share it with everyone you meet. Laughter can decrease stress hormones such as cortisol, create a physical and emotional release, be an internal workout, create a distraction and offer a lighthearted perspective for a heavy situation.
- Be optimistic: Healthy, positive attitudes are essential. Negative attitudes contribute to physical and mental illness and lessen your quality of life.
- Be altruistic: Give back to your community. Find purpose in your life. Giving back can provide joy and satisfaction and may offer a longer life to yourself and others.
- Adaptability: Maintaining a flexible attitude will help you to bounce back from life’s misfortunes. This ability also helps maintain balance in life.
Jump-starting healthy habits isn’t easy to do alone. The HonorHealth Bariatric Center offers medically supervised programs to help you lose weight under the supervision of a nurse practitioner. He or she will help you set goals, make diet changes, establish an exercise program and track your progress. Call 480-882-7460 to get started.