There’s no question that age brings changes to our lives. And yes, some of them we would prefer to avoid.
Physically, for example, stiffening joints can make it harder to get around. And many people find that their short-term memory is not what it used to be. Often, difficult personal situations, such as the death of a spouse, can add to the negative changes.
But age can bring positive changes too. One survey found that many older people say they have less stress and more time for family, interests, and hobbies than they used to. The vast majority of older people say they are satisfied with their lives.
To a great extent, what older age will be like for you depends on how you live now and how you cope with the changes that come your way. “The formula for healthy aging is really no secret,” says Dr. Melissa Butler, a provider at Years Ahead Health Center. “There are several things you should and should not do that affect how well you age.”
You may not be able to turn back time, but you can move in a direction that may make getting older easier and more pleasant. Here are a few pointers:
Decide to have an active mind and body.
Remember the adage, “Use it or lose it.”
Opt to be involved
Isolation can contribute to depression and other health problems. So keep connected to family and friends. Social connections can help ensure that you have physical and emotional support for what comes your way.
Choose a healthy lifestyle
The advice you heard when you were younger still applies: Eat well, maintain a healthy weight, get enough rest, don’t smoke, do what you can to stay safe, and see your doctor regularly.
Relish your leisure time
Do things you enjoy, and allow yourself some downtime. Too much stress can contribute to a host of health problems.
Practice healthy ways to cope
Believe in yourself, and remember: You can handle whatever comes your way.
“I can’t emphasize the importance of happiness,” says Dr. Butler. “Studies show that people with less stress and more positive outlooks have better outcomes. So smile often. Be generous. Be grateful. Be gracious. These are the practices that engender happiness.”
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