A Healthy Mind In A Healthy Body: A Guide To Healthy Aging
Getting older comes with its own set of challenges – and its own rewards.
And while our society seems to be taken up with delaying the signs of aging, or at least covering them up, not as much is being said about aging healthily.
Inevitably, we are all getting older. You are now a tiny bit older than you were when you first started reading this article.
But instead of focusing on the outward signs the years bless us with, let’s explore what it is we can do for our minds and bodies to help them take on the years with a bit more vigor.
The three pillars
The three pillars of a healthy life at any age are exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
Sleep is often the most underrated factor on this list, yet it has a whole plethora of benefits: it boosts the immune system, keeps us focused and productive, elevates our moods, and keeps our hearth healthier.
As we get older, our sleeping patterns change, so listen to what your body is telling you and adapt your sleeping schedule accordingly. Practice good sleep hygiene, and focus on quality as well as quantity.
When it comes to nutrition, there is nothing new we can offer on that point: base your diet around fruits and vegetables, lean meats (if you eat meat) and healthy fats, and try to remove sugars and processed foods from your menu as much as you can.
Of course, you are allowed to indulge every once in a while, and you don’t need to beat yourself up when you eat something that is essentially bad for you.
Finally, exercise should be a part of your everyday life in one form or another. There are exercises you can do at any age that will help keep your body and mind sharp and ready to take on the day.
Habits that stick
Apart from basing your life around the three pillars mentioned above, there are other routines you can add to your day to help yourself age better:
Meditation is an excellent way to keep both your mind sharp and focused, and your body healthier. It teaches you to be more present, centered, and aware, thus helping you combat stress and the anxieties of modern life.
Spend less time looking at screens
While we are all used to TVs and phones in our lives, spending more time away from them is a great way to elevate your quality of life.
Read, journal, or craft
Instead of a screen, try to occupy your mind and hands with a book, with writing, or with a craft. Doing something with your hands and learning new skills is a great way to keep up your cognitive abilities, and it will enrich your life in more ways than one.
Spend time in the sun
Nature is still our preferred home, no matter how modern and advanced our dwellings have become. Try to spend at least 30 minutes in nature every day, be it in a park, by a river or lake, or by going on a hike or walk. Take your shoes off and touch the grass or sand, and simply meditate or let your mind relax while you enjoy the air and breeze.
Smiling is a great way to stay young. But sadly, it’s not a habit many of us have. Try to make yourself smile at least once every hour. Think of a happy memory, watch a comedy, read something funny, or just smile even if you don’t feel like it. The hormones that smiling triggers in your body will help you feel much better about life.
Stay in touch
Talk to a member of your family or a friend every day. Human contact is very important for aging well, so try to keep your friendships fresh and alive. Also, make an effort to meet new people as often as you can. Talking to new faces will enrich your day and occupy your mind with new perspectives and worldviews.
Learn how to be uncomfortable
Getting older is often a bit of a downer. You aren’t as fast or as pain-free as you used to be, and things get a bit tougher. Instead of wishing things were different, learn to accept the discomfort and work on living your best life, as opposed to focusing on the negatives.
Aging well is mostly about the mindset you adopt and the habits you practice. Focus on the positive and do what you can do to make your life a better space to occupy, day in and day out.
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