Growing old is something most people apprehend. Many individuals celebrate birthdays every year happily but resent how old they are becoming, especially those who have reached their 30s.
Despite all the negative thoughts about aging, it is good when you come to think of it. With time, you grow wiser, mature, and more confident than your younger self.
You avoid getting into that unnecessary drama and thus, take a more rational approach. This is the reason your grandmother’s little anecdotes are still relatable and legit.
While witnessing and undergoing all those years, you grow and evolve as a person. You let go of certain things that once were impossible to forget. However, this self-realization and freedom become difficult to enjoy when you forget stuff frequently, suffer from different aches, and get tired of performing little tasks.
These conditions make you resent growing old, apart from graying hair and lined skin. While the latter two are bound to come, other symptoms are not a precondition of aging.
How to age well?
If you take good care of your health and adopt some lifestyle changes, you are definitely going to age well. Being grateful, wiser, and mature is not bad, but deteriorating health, dementia, and other ailments are.
Here are a few tips that can lead your way to healthy aging.
1. Stay Active
A sedentary lifestyle is a culprit behind most of your current health issues. Not only this, but it will continue taking a toll on your health when you become old.
Furthermore, you must have noticed that the above-mentioned signs of poor aging are interrelated. Most of them originate from the kind of lifestyle a person leads.
Staying active does not mean that a person must be an athlete, but they should abstain from a sedentary lifestyle. Include some physical activity in your daily routine if you want to age well.
Incorporate activities and create habits that make you stay active in your daily life. These activities do not necessarily have to be workouts and stuff. It can even be something simple like walking more or using steps instead of an elevator.
If you have a 9-5 desk job, you can still manage an active routine by setting aside movement breaks for yourself.
Another good and simple thing is riding a bicycle. According to one study, individuals aging 55-79, who regularly practice cycling, tend to have better metabolic activity, improved memories, balance, and reflexes than those who do not perform any physical activity.
2. Take an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Taking a proper diet is a key to healthy aging. Many conditions of poor aging are linked to chronic inflammation. You can prevent it by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes leafy greens, antioxidant-rich vegetables, and fruits.
An anti-inflammatory diet includes high-quality seafood and meats, healthy seeds and nuts, spices like ginger and turmeric, bone broth, healthy fats like almond and coconut oil, and other anti-aging foods. This diet also necessities avoiding foods and drinks that cause inflammation, as they promote premature aging.
As for maintaining brain health, you should add healthy fats to your diet. In fact, switching to the keto diet on and off is considered effective in managing your brain health.
Probiotic foods and drinks like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir also support the brain and the immune system, digestion, and brain.
Although diet is quite effective in obtaining all the necessary nutrients, it is not bad to take supplements of certain supplements. Especially when you are deficient in some nutrient, food is not going to fulfill all your needs.
Supplements like multivitamins omega-3s, probiotics along with anti-aging essential oils, and turmeric can prove to be quite valuable for healthy aging.
3. Manage Stress
Handling stress is not an easy task, but still doing so is necessary. Stress exacerbates the signs of poor aging. Managing stress at a young age will prove to be fruitful when you are getting old.
To reduce or eliminate stress, try yoga or other exercises, meditation and prayer, therapy, acupuncture, spending more time in nature, and journaling.
Also, it would help if you surrounded yourself with positive people, especially those who support you throughout your life. When you have blues, family and friends can be a great way to alleviate the stress levels.
According to one study, social support—when combined with an active lifestyle and a healthy diet—can reverse the process of aging. So, stay connected with your close friends and family members, no matter how busy you are.
It will help you avoid loneliness and depression and make it easier for you to go through hardship and loss.
4. Avoid Smoking
Tobacco is detrimental to your health. It damages almost every organ of your body. Products containing nicotine cause cancer, heart diseases, gum and lung disease, and several other serious health issues.
It is never too late to quit. Your body will start healing even after 20 minutes of your last tobacco. It will shun away your risk of a heart attack. Within a year of quitting, your chances of heart disease will reduce by half.
It will also enhance your life by reducing the risk factors of early death or premature aging.
5. Add Fiber to Your Diet
Adding fiber to your food is an easy way to lead to healthy aging and healthy life. A little change in your diet can help you achieve pretty much. Switch your white bread with whole grain. Add apple slices to your salad and kidney beans to your soup.
These little changes will lower your cholesterol levels while reducing the risk of type 2 disease, heart disease, and colon cancer.
They also help you avoid constipation, another common condition in older adults. Once crossed 50, women should eat 21 grams of fiber per day while men should consume 30 grams.
Check out these 12 Anti-Aging Foods.
6. Try Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise that combines deep breathing and slow movements. It is doing meditation while you move. It prevents older people from falling, which is a common cause of injury among elders.
Tai Chi can also improve balance, strengthen muscles, ease stress, increase flexibility, and reduce arthritis pain.
7. Be Optimistic
The core of healthy aging is staying optimistic no matter what you are going through. Life is hard. It takes away most of your treasured assets, belongings, and people. When you are optimistic about life, your body and mind respond to this positivity.
People who braved the calamities have fewer heart attacks and depression than those who take a pessimistic outlook for life. A positive outlook is known to lower the virus counts in people having HIV.
8. Do not Compromise on your Sleep
You may have come across the meme on social media: “If nothing goes right, go to sleep.” It may seem far-fetched, but taking a nice, full sleep can do wonders.
However, in older adults, remaining asleep throughout the night is a luxury, and for some, an unfulfilled desire. Inadequate sleep can cause memory problems, mood swings and give rise to many other health risks.
So, try to get more sleep. Here are a few tips to get adequate sleep at night:
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Turn off all the appliances, even your cell phone, when you jump into the bed.
- Turn the bedside clock away from the bed to avoid looking at it. It may be getting you anxious about the passing time.
- Go to the bathroom before you go to bed.
Myths on aging
Here are a few things that people generally mistake as preconditions of aging:
1. Aging is Declining Health or Disability
The risk of diseases may increase with age, but aging itself does not mean poor health or getting bound to a wheelchair. Plenty of older people out there are enjoying good health, even better than young people. Lifestyle changes like healthy eating, exercising, and managing stress levels can play a crucial role.
2. Memory Loss is Inevitable
Over the passage of a few years, once you cross 50, you may notice that you cannot remember things as well as you did in the past. The memories may start to come back after a little struggle. But, memory loss is not a result of aging. Learning new skills can be achieved at any age by doing certain things to keep your memory sharp.
That is why you get to hear the stories of 100-year older women doing their graduation or else.
3. You cannot Try New Things
A growing old myth means you cannot try new things or learn anything anymore. If anything, this is an ideal time to do so, as you no longer have to worry about funds for sending your kids off to college or giving them pick-n-drops every other day.
You have to believe in yourself and the fact that this is not the end of the world. Stay motivated and positive.
Signs of Aging Poorly
Aging does not necessarily mean that you stay confined to your home, become unable to try anything new, or precisely, start believing that this is ‘the end.’ Having said that, it still does not mean that aging does not affect your body.
It is only that you can reverse aging, not entirely, though. It is written in your DNA and is a normal phase of life. So, do not apprehend aging. It is ‘poor aging’ that you need to look out for.
Here are a few signs of aging poorly that have become so prevalent that they are mistaken as the predetermined aging conditions.
1. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a disorder that interrupts your breathing when you are asleep. While this disorder can appear at any age, the risk increases when a person gets older. According to one study of men aging from 20 to 100 years, cases of sleep apnea increase with age.
What’s more, sleep apnea also gives rise to chronic fatigue, another sign of aging. Chronic fatigue is about feeling drained constantly and the inability to have a good night of sleep.
After the age of 40, chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness tend to become inevitable in many people.
2. Joint Pain
Aching, tender joints are a hallmark of getting old. Conditions like osteoarthritis are more common in old age. That is because the cartilage starts to break down, marking the condition called degenerative joint disease.
Joint pain is also linked to swelling and inflammation. Both osteoarthritis and DJD have no known cure to date.
3. Brain Fog
Brain fog is another symptom that points to aging. It is caused by chronic inflammation. This condition is marked by forgetfulness, concentration problems, fatigue, irritability forgetfulness, lack of motivation, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.
4. Weight Gain
While gain a small amount of weight is a normal part of aging, putting on excessive pounds is poor aging. Normal weight gain characterizes as around one pound every one to two years. But most adults gain way more pounds than this because of their lifestyle choices.
Having a busy schedule, stress, improper diet, and lack of sleep are the reasons for excessive weight gain. Adopting a more active lifestyle can reverse this effect of aging.
Dementia is also a sign of aging. The primary reason for dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, along with many other reasons. Other conditions responsible for dementia include frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), vascular dementia resulted from strokes, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), normal pressure hydrocephalus, and depression.
Dementia is also caused by medication. Also, contrary to popular belief, it is not a precondition of aging. The occurrence of dementia in conditions like Alzheimer’s is closely linked to inflammation, diet, activity level, a person’s job, and gut health.
When these things are in excess or in poor condition, the person is likely to develop dementia.
Other signs of poor aging include hearing loss, digestive issues, skin and appearance changes, chronic inflammation, and varicose veins.