Healthy Aging Month® is an annual observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. The mission of Healthy Aging® Month is to encourage and promote taking personal responsibility for one’s health.
As you age, your body and your needs change in order to stay healthy. It is important for older adults to remain physically, mentally and socially engaged. However, older adults often encounter challenges in these areas. Careful attention and preventative measures to reduce or eliminate these challenges is helpful in the pursuit of healthy aging.
A key to healthy aging is a healthy lifestyle. Eating a variety of nutritious foods and practicing portion control can go a long way! As you get older, your metabolism slows down and you need fewer calories. Make your calories count and cut down on empty calories from sugary drinks and sweets. If you need help, your doctor or health care provider can make recommendations.
Other factors to healthy aging include physical and mental activity. Changing your lifestyle in your 60s and beyond can still make a big difference. Regular exercise could lower your risk of heart problems and bone fractures. If you have not been active in a while, starting regular physical activity now may improve your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Just 30 minutes of walking, biking, or even gardening five days a week can make a difference.
For any new physical activity, start slowly and work up to your goal. Before starting any physical activity, check with your doctor who will be able to recommend types of exercises that are best for you and ways to progress at a safe and steady pace.
Physical fitness and mental fitness often go together. Practicing a new and challenging activity is beneficial for building and maintaining cognitive skills. Choosing a new activity, whether it be physical or mental, engages your brain to learn something new.
Social interaction is also beneficial for healthy aging. People with a social network are less likely to become isolated and lonely. You can build a social network by volunteering, attending religious services, becoming involved in your community, enrolling in a class or learning a new hobby. Volunteering has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life. Surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and it will become contagious.
Healthy aging can depend on your genes, lifestyle choices, and the environment. You can be mentally sharp and maintain your ability to learn and reason as you age by eating right, exercising, connecting with others, and challenging your brain. Below are links to additional information.