Tips for Aging Gracefully

With some simple strategies, you can transition as the years roll by

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “the longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” As the years advance and our bodies and brains show the marks of time, it can feel like it takes more effort and fortitude to stay healthy. There are simple strategies you can use to feel good and stay strong.

Stick to a Sleep Routine

There are numerous shifts that happen with sleep as you age, including less time in deep sleep, higher risk for insomnia, changing sleep patterns and more difficulty falling asleep. This can lead to feeling more tired during the day, which in turn prompts long naps and early bedtimes.

To alleviate some of these challenges, it’s important to create a bedtime-wake time schedule that’s consistent, and to limit naps to under 90 minutes when you do take them. Also, focus on getting more exercise during the day, to get a good dose of natural light. Talk with your doctor about the medications you are taking, too, since some sleep issues may be a side effect of medications.

Up Your Exercise

As we all know, not only does exercise help with sleep, but we may not realize it offers benefits for just about everything else, too. Regular exercise increases bone density, helps preserve muscle mass, improves mood, boosts the immune system and lowers cholesterol. It’s even been linked to greater mental clarity and longer life.

Best of all, it doesn’t take much to start getting these advantages, no matter when you start. Begin with walking or swimming, or find out if there are classes near you geared toward seniors, like gentle yoga or Silver Sneakers. Be sure to check in with your doctor before getting started.

Eat Your Veggies

As you age, your resting metabolic rate declines, which means you burn fewer calories and may risk gaining weight. One way to handle this transition is to focus on the quality of your food, and especially on including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as well as whole grains and lean protein.

Also crucial is to make sure you’re drinking enough water. The sensation of thirst decreases as you age, so if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink, you could be risking dehydration. Certain medications, like diuretics, can also increase you need for water, so ask your doctor about a daily amount that’s right for you.

Stay Connected

Physical and emotional health are interconnected, which is why stress and sadness can be so tough on the body. As we age, our social networks may be smaller than they once were, but it’s worth taking the time to maintain those social connections.

Our relationships give us a sense of meaning and purpose, which have been shown in numerous studies to be important for staying healthy and happy. To take on aging gracefully, why not combine some of these go-to strategies? Invite a friend out for lunch or a long walk and bolster your health in the process.

Inova offers a free hip and knee profiler that generates a personalized report on your joint health. Start your assessment now.

Learn more antiaging tips and how to incorporate more vegetables and healthful foods into your lifestyle at our upcoming class, Food as Medicine for Healthy Mind & Memory on September 11, 2019, 7:00 – 8:00 pm. Register now.

What Screenings Do You Need?

Be sure to stay on top of health screenings. Catching issues in their earliest stages, when they’re much easier to treat, is considered one of the top ways to stay healthy. If you’re 50 or older, ask your doctor about what the schedule should be for screenings like these:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Osteoporosis
  • Mammograms
  • Prostate cancer

Find a doctor near you.

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