As you add more candles to your birthday cake, it becomes even more important to take care of yourself – physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially. Here are some recommendations to keep you at your best inside and out throughout your life.
- Your body becomes increasingly susceptible to dehydration with age as the ability to conserve water and regulate thirst naturally decreases. Set a daily water goal (such as eight 8-oz glasses) and stick with it even when you don’t feel thirsty.
- Being physically active doesn’t have to mean going to the gym every day. You can also incorporate exercise into your day by walking, gardening or swimming. Making an effort to be more active can mean fewer trips to the doctor or hospital and might even help reduce your need for medication.
- Visit your doctor. Regular visits will ensure you’re getting the care you need at every age and will also keep you up to date on the types and dosages of any medications you should take.
- It can be increasingly difficult to get the sleep you need as you get older due to changes in your circadian clock. Getting enough sunlight and exercise can help keep your internal day-night rhythms in alignment, allowing you to wake up feeling more rested each morning.
- Life transitions can be powerful enough to usher in feelings of depression and loneliness. Adapting to everything from body changes (such as diminishing hearing or vision) to substantial adjustments (such as losing a loved one) can be a lot to manage. Nurture yourself through each new phase and reach out for help if you need it.
- One of the best things you can do for your emotional health as you age is to let go of past regrets. Studies show that regret can have negative effects on your mental health as well as your immune system and hormones. Reminiscing without judgment or remorse can help you better manage negative emotions.
- Take up a new instrument, learn a foreign language, read the news, write your memoirs, play games or do puzzles. Staying mentally active, according to a Stanford University study, can make you 30-50 percent less likely to develop memory loss.
- Use routine and repetition to make it easier to remember things. Putting your things in the same place every day gets both your body and your mind involved in recall.
- Stay engaged with friends and family by writing letters, talking on the phone, going for visits or connecting on social media. Another great way to stay connected – and active – is offering to babysit for family members with children.
- Make new friends who have the same interests that you do. Taking a class, joining a club and volunteering are great ways to meet new people and form new friendships. There are lots of great resources that help match senior volunteers with the organizations that need them.
As we collect life experience, we gain valuable wisdom to share with the generations that are next in line. Staying healthy in all aspects of life gives us the opportunity to enjoy the richness of our years while also giving friends and family the benefit of all we’ve learned along the way.
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