How to Live Your Best Life as You Age

What does it mean to age gracefully?

You can’t stand in a checkout line without seeing at least a few magazine headlines about how to look younger. While dreading some wrinkles and sagging isn’t uncommon, there’s so much more to aging well.Aging gracefully isn’t about trying to look like a 20-something — it’s about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better with age with the right care.

Tips for aging gracefully

Use these tips to help you age gracefully from the inside out.

1. Be kind to your skin

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. If you treat it with care, it can better protect your body from the elements, regulate your body temperature, and provide sensation.
To keep it looking and functioning at its best:

Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when outside.
Get yearly skin cancer screenings.
Stick to gentle products in your anti-aging skin care routine.
Stay hydrated.

2. Exercise

Regular exercise significantly lowers your risk of diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and helps you retain your mobility longer. Exercise also lowers stress and improves sleep, skin and bone health, and mood.

The Department of Health & Human Services recommends that adults do:

2.5 to 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, or a combination of the two
muscle strengthening activities of moderate intensity or greater, that involve all major muscle groups, two or more days per week

Some examples of aerobic exercise include:

walking
swimming
dancing
cycling

Muscle- and bone-strengthening exercises can be performed using weights or resistance bands.Older adults should also focus on activities that include balance training in addition to aerobic and muscle strengthening exercises.

3. Mind your diet

Healthy foods are the way to go when it comes to aging gracefully. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you eat:

fruits and vegetables, either fresh, frozen, or canned
lean protein, such as fish and beans
at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta every day
three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that are fortified with vitamin D
healthy fats

Avoid using solid fats for cooking and use oils instead. Stay away from processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats.You should also keep your salt intake to a minimum to keep your blood pressure down.

4. Mental health matters

Being happy and keeping your stress down goes a long way in helping you live and age well.

To keep your mood elevated:

Spend time with friends and loved ones. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network improve mental and physical well-being and longevity. Don’t forget your furry loved ones as having a pet has been linked to lower stress and blood pressure, reduced loneliness, and better moods.
Accept your age. There is evidence that people who maintain a positive attitude about aging live longer and may recover better from a disability. Aging is inevitable and learning to embrace it can make all the difference.
Do things you enjoy. Taking the time to engage in activities you enjoy will only fuel your happiness. Spend time in nature, pursue a new hobby, volunteer — whatever brings you joy.

5. Stay physically active

Numerous studies have linked a sedentary life to an increased risk of chronic illness and early death.Some options to stay active are going on walks and hikes, taking vacations, and participating in group exercise classes.

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