Blog/How to Embrace Healthy Aging with Healthier Habits
9/12/2023 | 4 min read

How to Embrace Healthy Aging with Healthier Habits

Four lifestyle changes to stay active and feeling good for longer

A older couple walking through the woods during Fall. They are smiling and laughing with each other.

Aging is inevitable, and for many, celebrating and embracing it doesn’t come as easily. As you age, fine lines may appear, joints become less flexible, and maybe you don’t bounce back from a night out like you used to. All of these changes may leave you wanting to turn back time. 

For those in Western cultures, aging can be viewed as taboo or hush-hush, making you feel like a once brand-new car that’s now rusted and headed for the scrap yard. That may be ]overkill, but what gets the point across better than a car metaphor? 

Now, while we can’t stop the clock, we can certainly influence how gracefully we age. Embracing healthy aging means nurturing your body, mind and overall wellbeing for a vibrant and fulfilling life as you grow older. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to aging like a fine wine. 

Diet: fuel your body wisely

Diet is everything. I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but when it comes to aging, a well-balanced diet is one of the cornerstones to doing it right. 

Since they work so well, here’s another car metaphor. If you put poor-quality fuel in your gas tank, your engine has to work harder — because it works harder, it deteriorates faster. Your body is the same.

As you grow older, your immune system may become slower to respond, increasing your risk of getting sick. Similarly, your body may heal slower due to fewer immune cells in the body to activate the healing process. 

That being said, you get out of it what you put in. The food you consume plays a crucial role in maintaining your health and vitality as you age, while also bolstering your immune system. Here are some dietary tips to keep in mind:

  • Nutrient-rich foods: Find foods that provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. The National Council on Aging recommends these 8 superfoods be the staple of a healthy meal plan for seniors

    • Dark leafy greens

    • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and turnips)

    • Blueberries

    • Nuts and seeds

    • Eggs

    • Salmon

    • Plain Greek yogurt

    • Avocados

  • Hydration: Drinking enough water helps improve your energy levels and brain function. Water coincidentally helps keep your skin looking radiant and reduces signs of aging. It is recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but speak to your doctor for personalized hydration recommendations. 

  • Moderate alcohol and caffeine: A glass of wine or a cup of coffee won’t hurt you. However, choose to consume these in moderation. Excessive alcohol and caffeine can negatively impact your health. Alcohol has been shown to cause premature aging and increase the risk of disease. The recommended amount to avoid health risks is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. 

  • Limit processed foods: Again, everything is okay in moderation. Processed foods are often loaded with unhealthy fats, sugars and additives, so minimizing intake of these items can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. 

  • Portion control: Our metabolism tends to slow down as we age. Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating and unnecessary weight gain. Additionally, it's important to ensure you're getting nutrients like collagen, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in your diet to support your joints, which can become more susceptible to issues as you age.

Body: prioritize your physical health

Taking care of your body is essential to healthy aging. It’s what carried you through life, so continue to treat it with care. Here’s what you can do:

  • Regular check-ups: Visit your healthcare provider for routine check-ups and screenings. Early detection of health issues can make a world of difference in their treatment. 

  • Manage chronic conditions: If you have any chronic conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, work closely with your healthcare team to keep them under control and ensure they don’t hinder your quality of life as you age. 

  • Exercise regularly: Engage in regular physical activity to maintain muscle strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Stray away from living a sedentary lifestyle, as it can lead to an increase in chronic illness or premature death. Any activity is a good activity. Exercise can also lower stress and improve sleep, skin, bone health and your overall mood. Activities like walking, swimming and yoga are great options for seniors. 

  • Adequate sleep: Prioritize getting enough sleep, as it is essential for physical and mental well-being. Older adults who report having a good night's sleep at night tend to be at lower risk for falls and have healthy overall immune functioning. 

  • Oral health: Don’t forget to give your teeth and gums some love. Good oral hygiene can prevent dental issues that become more common as we age, ensuring your smile remains a source of comfort. 

Movement: stay active and agile

Say it with us… “A body in motion stays in motion.” You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s true! Movement is life, and staying active is key to healthy aging. Here are some tips for incorporating movement into your daily routine. 

  • Stay flexible: Stretching is important for people of all ages. These exercises can improve flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries and falls. Incorporate gentle stretching routines into your daily life. 

  • Strength training: Building and maintaining muscle mass is vital for older adults. Consider strength training exercises, even if it is with light weights, to keep your muscles strong and prevent osteoporosis 

  • Cardiovascular exercise: Engage in aerobic activities like brisk walking, cycling or dancing. Cardiovascular exercise enhances heart health and keeps you feeling energized.

  • Balance and coordination: Activities like yoga improves balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls. Listen to how your body feels during exercise. If something doesn’t feel right, consult a healthcare professional or a fitness trainer. 

Wellbeing: nurture your mind

Aging gracefully goes beyond the physical aspect. Your mental and emotional health is equally important.

  • Stay connected: Continue to maintain social connections with friends and family. Loneliness, something that many seniors can experience can take a toll on mental health, so foster meaningful relationships. 

  • Stress management: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing or mindfulness to improve mental resilience. 

  • Emotional health: Seek professional guidance if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or any other emotional challenges that come with aging. Your mental health matters.

  • Purpose and meaning: Find a hobby that can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout the course of your life. Research found that engaging in enjoyable leisure activities is linked to reduced blood pressure, decreased levels of total cortisol, a lower body mass index (BMI) and a perception of improved physical function.

How can Agile help with common conditions?

At Agile, we believe everyone should have access to excellent healthcare, regardless of where you are or when you need it. We offer convenient, virtual care across the U.S. for your most common medical conditions. Our network of providers are ready to address your unique concerns to deliver effective, personalized treatment in a timely manner. 

To tap into fast, cost-effective care now, schedule a consultation with one of our licensed clinicians!