“Growing is not for the faint of heart.” – May West
It can be easy to overlook the adventure and fun that aging journey entails. The process of aging—while seemingly a barrel of endless jokes for birthday card companies—is filled with experiences that enable us to think deeper, pursue personal hobbies, and broaden perspective.
As of 2020, 21.6% of Virginia’s population was at least 60 years old, and this proportion is expected to reach 24% by 2030. It is more important than ever that the enabling resources that support this growing population are shared with Their age in the life they lived worked hard to build. While successful aging will look a little different for each individual, the general idea is to age in a way that enables well-being at an older age. This tactic requires purposeful decisions about how to treat one’s body, mind, time, etc. In celebration of Healthy Aging Month, the following tips and resources are a good reminder of how to live life to the fullest.
The 3F Rule: Fitness, Food, Fun
Writing down the foods we eat and how they interact with our changing bodies is a great step toward healthy aging. For extra energy, increase the number of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Whole grains are a better option than processed carbohydrates for adding fiber and vitamins to your meals. For the best protein options, choose lean meats, nuts, or beans.
It’s no secret that the body’s nutritional needs change over time. In addition to making healthy food choices, it is important to know the best steps to take to satisfy hunger and cravings.
- When you feel hungry, have some water first and drink slowly while you think about what you ate so far. Thirst and hunger are deeply intertwined and can often be confused with each other. Still hungry after a few slow sips? Time to find a snack!
- Have you noticed that you are craving a dessert after a delicious meal? Ask yourself if you really Wants Something more or expected out of habit. Remember that everything is in moderation, and even sweets do not need to do without it. Just notice if your body has room for something else. If you’re really hungry, consider if there are alternatives that might satisfy without driving you into that “excessive” state (like red grapes, ginger chews, or a cup of herbal/fruit tea).
While physical activity is important during all stages of life, it becomes even more important with age. Exercise improves the body’s cardiovascular system, supports digestion, and maintains muscle strength for everyday tasks (such as getting dressed, walking, cooking, etc.).
Health research has traditionally focused on the physical benefits of exercise in old age; However, more recently, public health and medicine have delved deeper into the psychological, body, and brain relationship affected by exercise. The mental health benefits of consistent exercise include stress management, improved sleep quality, and an increased sense of well-being. If you don’t find a physical activity you enjoy that you can continue to do over time, this is your chance to start exploring. From indoor swimming (available all year round) to puberty – Mix of running and picking up trash – There are a plethora of ways to move in ways that you find interesting. You can even think of physical activities that can be incorporated into daily life, such as walking, cycling to work, gardening, or even adding some dance moves while doing housework.
Sure, keeping the body healthy is worth the effort, but the impact of social communication and activities on the brain is just as important. Choose activities that challenge the mind, such as learning new dance steps, playing a new game (card, board, or fun), or taking up a new hobby. Community and social participation, through friendships, partnerships, community service or participation in local organizations, It is another important aspect to consider when looking at maintaining optimal mental and physical function throughout life. Finding ways to integrate interaction with the world around you, play and novelty (i.e. learning something new) into each day pays off. Not only does cognitive sharing ward off diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, it also increases interest in life and reduces loneliness as well as depression.
all together now
Keep in mind that the three “F”s work together. It can be helpful to find fun ways to combine them. For example, you can walk to work with a friend while sharing something new you learned this week; Or see if certain ingredients can be substituted for healthier options while trying a new recipe or cooking technique.
At the end of the day, remember that healthy aging is about well-being. Keep in mind the “3 F” rule and surround yourself with the things that create happiness, growth, and fulfillment in your life. Until the next Healthy Aging Month, be good to go.
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Wong RY. A new strategic approach to successful aging and healthy aging. Geriatrics (Basel). 2018 November 29; 3 (4): 86. doi: 10.3390/geriatrics 3040086. PMID: 31011121; PMCID: PMC6371117.
Halawa H, Dahlin Ivanov S, Svantesson U, Willen C. Older people’s perspectives on good aging: a focus group study. J Aging Res. 2018 November 4; 2018:9858252. doi:10.1155/2018/9858252. PMID: 30533224; PMCID: PMC6247475.
Senior planning services. Reshaping the food pyramid for the elderly. Retrieved July 23, 2022
Elderly lifestyles. The 7 Best Adult Exercises (and a Few to Avoid!). Retrieved July 14, 2022
Parker Pope, A.; How to age well. The New York Times. Retrieved July 7, 2022
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