From ketogenic diets to high-intensity P90X workouts, it seems like the latest healthy living trends are quite extreme and often unsustainable. Living well at every stage of life doesn’t have to be restrictive or stressful. The key to healthy aging is adapting to change, making smart choices for the mind and body, and staying connected to community and loved ones. Here are 5 simple steps for living well and feeling great at any age.
Keep moving. Staying fit doesn’t have to mean strenuous activity. Take a walk around the block. Invest in a standing desk or bike desk. Many community centers have pool exercise clubs and yoga for all ages. ACI Specialty Benefits CEO Dr. Ann Clark founded the International Chair Yoga Association with the belief that yoga is for every body. So get up, get moving, and find an exercise regimen that works.
Enjoy lifelong learning. Learning a new skill can kick the brain into high gear. Want to learn how to play the guitar or how investments work? Take a class or watch a how-to video. Brain health is about more than solving the latest Sudoku—it’s about exercising lesser-used parts of the brain for overall better cognitive function.
Get creative. From woodworking to coloring, scrapbooking to gardening, crafting and DIY projects are proven to reduce depression and stress, increase levels of dopamine, provide an outlet for creative energy and foster a sense of accomplishment. To get started, watch this video for information on how crafts can boost brain activity.
Be social. Being among friends and loved ones is proven to lower heart rate and boost oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone. So start a book club, set up dinner dates with friends, or join online meetup groups with similar interests to stay connected, make new friends, and live a happier life.
Get regular check-ups. Don’t skip annual preventive visits to the doctor. Regular check-ups can also help prevent mental health issues that may arise as a result of aging stressors. Don’t assume that feeling down is the norm—aging and feeling good are not mutually exclusive. World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, so contact a mental health professional for resources on mental wellness.
For more tips on healthy aging and to get connected to local resources, call or email ACI Specialty Benefits, your confidential Employee Assistance Program, at 800.932.0034 or firstname.lastname@example.org.