The attitudes toward aging have come a long way since Bette Davis quipped, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” Thanks to years of research, scientists have shed light on how to stay healthy well into our golden years. Everything from our bones to our brains begin to perform differently as we age, but our lifestyle habits go a long way toward lowering our risk of health problems, including dementia. Read on for tips on how to live your best life into your 80s and beyond.
According to a study conducted in Sweden, the greatest indicators for a long life are:
- Not smoking
- Engaging in a range of mentally stimulating activities from hobbies to socializing
- Getting regular physical activity
- Having a rich social network of family and friends
- Being neither overweight nor underweight
Their research concluded that seniors who are mentally, physically, and socially active are more likely to live an average of 5.4 years longer than inactive seniors. It’s clear that how you spend your time each day will determine the quality and quantity of your days.
Spend Time with People
Yet another study conducted by a researcher at Brigham Young University found that while all these factors are beneficial, the highest predictor of a long life expectancy are two aspects of your social life: your close relationships and your level of social integration. This isn’t referring to just the people you’re really close to; this is referring to how many people you talk to during the day. Do you talk with the woman who walks past your house every day or the one who sells you vegetables at the market? The waiter in the food stall? Are you in a book club, or do you get together with friends for some shared activity. These interactions are one of the strongest predictors of how long you’ll live.
Spend Time Exercising
When it comes to exercise, nothing beats low-impact exercise for seniors. Some safe and fun options that won’t hammer your joints are:
Spend Time Outdoors
Studies have also shown the numerous health benefits of spending time outdoors. Simply breathing in fresh air and feeling the sunshine can significantly reduce depression levels and strengthen your immune system. Getting outdoors can be a great way to interact socially with others.
There’s never been a better time to be a senior. We’re living in an aging society. According to the Census Bureau, by 2030, there will be more 65-and-older residents in the United States than children. This means more awareness, more benefits, and greater opportunities. By following the above tips and keeping a great attitude, there’s no reason why you can’t thrive in the second half of your life.
Karen Weeks Bio
Coming off retirement, I lacked purpose and direction. To curb the boredom, I took it upon myself to pick up a new skill. Computers were never my thing but after taking a computer course, I learned how to build this website. My blog, Elderwellness.net stands as a resource for seniors to help maintain the mind, body and spirit.
I find it fun to explore new ideas and believe that nothing is off the table for seniors!