Body + Mind is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through some of the links on our site.
Do you equate growing older with increasing infirmity? Many people linger under the mistaken belief that reaching your sunset years means hanging up your hat and resigning yourself to your rocker.
Your golden years can be your best once you embrace the keys to healthy aging. By caring for your body and mind, you can enjoy peak mobility and freedom throughout retirement. Here’s what to do!
Do your relatives live on the other side of the country or even the globe? Stay connected through the use of technology. Devices such as Grandpads need little if any, technological savvy to operate. They allow you to video chat with your grandchildren and feel close despite the distances.
Foster new friendships as well by taking advantage of specialty courses at community and recreation centers. Classes such as Silver Sneakers encourage members to connect outside of the fitness room. You have an instant group of people your age to grab lunch or tea with after working out or learning a new skill.
Senior living facilities run the gamut from glam to godawful. However, the right arrangement can significantly increase your enjoyment off your retirement years. Reputable assisted living facilities feature trained nutritionists, medical staff and lawyers who dedicate themselves to helping you traverse the challenges of aging.
Don’t be afraid of such facilities — but do exercise sound judgment. Visit and ask all the questions you need to put your mind at ease.
Do you feel like your cognitive ability is slipping since you’ve started getting older? The best way to keep your mind young is to keep learning throughout life.
You don’t need to enroll in a degree program to stay sharp. Try a computer class at a local library. Take out a book on a topic that interests you and do crossword and word scramble games to fire up your neurons.
Exercise is among the number one keys to healthy aging. The practice can help ward off many common health problems, including breast cancer and heart disease. It enables you to maintain normal body weight and retain mobility.
Try taking a 30-minute walk each day. If you watch your grandchildren, you can walk them to school instead of waiting at the parent pickup. Check with your health insurance if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. Many offer free or low-cost fitness center memberships.
Did you know getting adequate levels of B-vitamins can help you stave off Alzheimer’s disease and mental fog? You can get many of these nutrients like folate from deep, leafy green vegetables. Adopt a more plant-based diet by filling half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. If you choose to eat meat, stick with lean varieties such as chicken and fish. Reduce your intake of processed flour and foods with additives like sugar.
Modern medicine can halt the progression of many diseases — if you catch them early. See your doctor at least once per year, more often if your conditions require routine monitoring.
Your dental health matters, too. Bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream through inflamed gums, possibly leading to dementia or death.
Getting outdoors improves your mood immensely. Whenever the weather permits, go outside and bask in the sunlight. Start a garden or contribute to a community one. Stroll through manicured museum grounds and observe the beauty. Even wheeling yourself out to a brightly-lit porch uplifts your spirits.
You can easily fall into a pattern of negative thinking that adversely affects your mental health. Maybe you lost many of your friends, or perhaps you feel lonely around the holidays. Regular mindfulness practice can help you reframe these thought patterns in a more positive light. “I’m sad I can’t see my beloved nieces this holiday season,” becomes, “I’m grateful I’m still agile enough to help the less fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen.”
Doing good for others releases feel-good chemicals like oxytocin into your bloodstream. Plus, it helps you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. The next time you need a mood boost, try volunteering. Even complimenting a stranger can put a smile on both of your faces.
You can get more out of your golden years with these keys to healthy aging. Getting older should mean getting better, not slowing down.