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The Keys to Healthy Aging


Article by Kate Baxendale

Photography by Stock Images

As we get older, we want to maintain a high quality of life. However, this becomes more challenging than when we were younger. Want to know the secret to aging gracefully? Read on to learn how you can make your years ahead the best they can be.

Get Moving: Exercise and Physical Activity

"Some people love it, some people hate it, but regardless of your personal feelings, exercise and physical activity are good for you—period. In fact, exercise and physical activity are considered a cornerstone of almost every healthy aging program. Scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, they live better. And, being physically active—doing everyday activities that keep your body moving, such as gardening, walking the dog, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator—can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age."

READ MORE: What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?

Healthy Eating

"As you age, your dietary needs may change. You may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. A healthy eating plan includes:

  • Eating foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories. This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.
  • Avoiding empty calories, such as foods like chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol
  • Eating foods that are low in cholesterol and fat
  • Drinking enough liquids, so you don't get dehydrated"

READ MORE: Nutrition for Older Adults

Lifestyle Changes

"In addition to diet and exercise, other important life style modifications to lead a healthier life in seniors include:

  • Limiting alcohol intake to one drink daily
  • Smoking cessation
  • Using skin moisturizers and sun protection
  • Brushing and flossing teeth once or twice a day
  • Staying proactive in own healthcare and participating in decision making
  • Going to the primary care doctor routinely
  • Reviewing list of medications with their doctor(s) often
  • Following recommended instructions for health screening, preventive tests, and vaccinations
  • Visiting a dentist annually or biannually
  • Following up with eye doctor and foot doctor, especially for people with diabetes
  • Being aware of potential medication side effects and drug interactions including over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and alternative medicine
  • Adhering to routine sleep schedule and using good sleep hygiene
  • Engaging in routine and scheduled social activities
  • Taking vacations"

READ MORE: What Are Lifestyle Changes Seniors Can Make to Lead a Healthy Life as They Age?