One of the things I enjoy coaching my clients on is “aging with grace”. But what does it mean? We are all aging and can’t help but notice the wrinkles and sagging, and the constant bombardment of products and services marketed to help us beat back father time. But aging gracefully doesn’t mean recapturing our twenty-something figure or skin, it’s about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. I am 53 now and want to enjoy the aging process rather than dreading every birthday as it approaches. Like a bottle of wine, we can get better with age with the right care.
Here are some great tips from healthline.com (June 2019) for aging gracefully:
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.
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 ServicesTrusted Source 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:
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 AmericansTrusted Source 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 studiesTrusted Source 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.
6. Lower your stress
The effects of stress on your body are vast, ranging from premature aging and wrinkles to a higher risk of heart disease.
There are a number of proven ways to relieve stress, including:
- using relaxation techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga
- getting adequate sleep
- talking to a friend
7. Get enough sleep
Good sleep is important for your physical and mental health. It also plays a role in your skin’s health.
- lower the risk of heart disease and stroke
- reduce stress and depression
- lower the risk of obesity
- reduce inflammation
- improve focus and concentration
EvidenceTrusted Source shows that people who engage in hobbies and leisure and social activities are happier, experience less depression, and live longer.
8. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is about acceptance and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Practicing mindfulness has many proven health benefits that can help you age better, including:
- improved focus
- better memory
- lower stress
- improved emotional reaction
- relationship satisfaction
- increased immune functioning
To practice mindfulness, try:
- tai chi
9. Drink plenty of water
Drinking enough water helps keep you regular and improves your energy levels and brain function. Coincidentally, it’s also been provenTrusted Source to help keep skin healthier and reduce signs of aging.
How much water you should drink depends on:
- your thirst
- your activity level
- how often you urinate and move your bowels
- how much you sweat
- your gender
In response to the many requests for advice and ideas, we are starting a Facebook group and master class to focus on “aging gracefully”. So, if you’re interested, please message me with any questions you may have and to join our group.
I’ve shared previously about my struggles the last two years with hormonal imbalance and steps I’ve taken to address it. Excess weight was an additional challenge during this period but I’ve been able to release 14 pounds in the last few months. The weight gain was tough to accept because my diet was already very clean and I was exercising and using good nutrition. But hormonal issues and accompanying inflammation can really wreak havoc!
One of the things I really focused on was my sleep. I made it a priority to establish a rigid bedtime routine which included setting a timer, incorporating meditation, and preparing my mind and body for sleep.
I also have reduced the intensity of my exercise with more yoga and stretching rather than the hardcore training I’ve done for years preparing for marathons.
Nutritionally I’ve transitioned to a 100% plant-based diet with no gluten and no dairy. I use vitamin supplements, plant-based protein, and other high quality nutritional products that I’d be happy to share more about with you. I also consult with an integrative holistic doctor and have incorporated acupuncture as an additional treatment.
If any of these topics or suggestions are something you’re curious about or you’d like to learn more, let me know and I will send you an invitation to our Facebook master class. We have five different experts who will be sharing their knowledge and advice on how to “age gracefully”. We’ll also have some younger people involved to make it even more fun!
My hope and encouragement to you today is that it’s our choice on how we’re going to age, and I for one want to be that grandma that has all the energy to keep up with grandchildren some day! My four kids are 20, 22, 25 and 27 and we recently became empty nesters (at least while college classes are in session). My husband and I are taking advantage of our good health and time together by doing a lot of traveling and outdoor activities. We don’t plan to slow down much by fueling our bodies, taking care of our joints, stretching, and all of those things that we can do to “age with grace”! Please reach out to me to learn more and have a fabulous day!