6 Tips to Be Fit at Any Age
Getting old ain't for sissies! As we age, our metabolism slows down, which can cause weight gain. We also lose muscle mass, our cardiovascular fitness declines, and our reflexes aren't as sharp. Research indicates that mild changes in cognition – such as memory – are also normal.
Aging can be a difficult concept for many. But it doesn't have to be. Look at Betty White. That grand lady was healthy and active for nearly 100 years.
According to the Johns Hopkins-led Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which tracked more than 6,000 people ages 44 to 84 for over seven years, "those who made good-for-you changes like quitting smoking, following a Mediterranean-style diet, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight decreased their risk of death in the time period by 80 percent."
Stay fit at any age with these six tips.
Be Physically Active
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily." Physical activity can help reduce blood pressure; maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduce anxiety and depression, and so much more. The Society of Behavioral Medicine recommends both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities for older adults.
Human contact is crucial to good health at any age. Studies show that an active social life can improve your quality of life – both mentally and physically - by boosting your immune system, reducing physical pain, lowering blood pressure, stimulating your mind, and improving your mood.
There are many ways to get social – volunteer, find a hobby, take a class to learn something new, travel, etc. Being social is so vital to good mental and physical health that the National Institutes of Health even offers a Social Wellness Toolkit that suggests the following strategies – make connections, take care of yourself while caring for others, shape your family's health habits, get active together, build healthy relationships, and bond with your kids.
Again, getting a good night's sleep is crucial at an age. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. According to the Sleep Foundation, "Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your abilities to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories."
Unfortunately, getting enough sleep as we age can become more challenging. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) estimates that 40-70% of older adults have chronic sleep problems. The NCBI states, "…there are normal changes to sleep architecture throughout the lifespan. There is not, however, a decreased need for sleep and sleep disturbance is not an inherent part of the aging process."
WebMD offers "tips to sleep tight."
The adverse effects of smoking – at any age - are well documented. Regardless of your age or even how long you've smoked, quitting at any time improves your health and likely adds years to your life. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that quitting at any age – even into your 60s, 70s, and beyond helps…
- Improve your sense of smell and taste
- Improve your lungs, heart, and circulatory system functions
- Improve your breathing
- Lower your risk of cancer
- And more
Exercise Your Brain
A 2014 study found that older adults who regularly "exercised their brain" maintained reasoning skills and cognition. Here are five brain exercises to stimulate your brain:
- crossword puzzles
- online brain games
- jigsaw puzzles
- tactile hobbies, such as building models or knitting
- playing cards
Have a Positive Mindset
This one's for you, Betty, who said, "I'm a big cockeyed optimist. I try to accentuate the positive as opposed to the negative." It turns out she was on to something. Research shows that having a positive mindset helps reduce stress, improve immunity, lower your risk for heart disease, and can actually help you live longer. Positive thinking can also improve your quality of life and increase your energy levels. Here are eight tips for training your brain to think more positively.
Live Your Best Life
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