September is national healthy aging month, a time to remember that it is never too late to take control of your health. I truly believe that it is never too late and that anyone can make changes to improve their lives, no matter what their age. So, what are my top RD-approved tips for healthy aging? It might surprise you that very few are related to diet!
Stay engaged in your community
Keeping yourself involved in your community and maintaining a strong social network is one of the best ways to age gracefully. Community gives you a sense of purpose, helps with stress management, and keeps the brain engaged.1 Try volunteering, take a community class, drop by your senior center, or just do anything to continue to be regularly engaged in the community where you live.
Use visualization and “act the age” you want to be.
Picture yourself at your best age when you felt the most energized and engaged in life. Then try to channel the self that you were then. This type of visualization is not a form of denial, but instead look at it as positive thinking. It can help you adopt the mental attitude of your best self, no matter what your age.
Use positive self- talk
Sometimes as we get older, it seems like health and life problems start to catch up to us. It can be easy to be negative about our health, aches, pains, and other things we experience as we age. But, how you talk about your health, life, and body can have a major impact on how you feel.
So, change the conversation to something positive instead. Surround yourself with positive friends who are living their best lives, no matter what their age. Smile more often. Walk proud and stand tall. It may seem a little awkward at first, but embracing positivity help change your mindset and influence your health.
Exercise or walk regularly
Maintaining mobility is the best way to remain engaged and active in your life and community. You may already know that if you don’t use it you lose it. Therefore, it is important to have a regular exercise routine in place throughout life. This can be as simple as a walking routine a few times a week.
Use exercise as a way to stay engaged in the community as well. Attend a local yoga or exercise class at a senior center or gym. Speak to neighbors while you are walking in the neighborhood. Exercise is the best way to keep your body and mind ageless.
Prioritize your health
Prioritizing health means that you value your health and are willing to do what it takes to take care of it. This means regular doctor’s visits and keeping up on required physical or screening exams. It means eating a well-balanced diet loaded with fruits and vegetables and taking the right supportive supplements. Putting your health first is the best way to achieve healthy aging.
During healthy aging month, take a look at what great health habits you already have as well as what you could be doing better to support your body, mind, and spirit as you get older.
Yours in health-
Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
IVL’s Community Registered Dietitian
- Gardner P. The role of social engagement and identity in community mobility among older adults aging in place. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2014;36(15): 1249-1257