Healthy Aging Month – Six Ways to Help Your Brain and Body Thrive

September is Healthy Aging Month. This observance has been recognized for over 25 years. The purpose of Healthy Aging Month is to bring awareness to the joyful aspects of growing older and to focus on ideas for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Mental and physical health are both crucial when talking about healthy aging. This month is the perfect time for seniors to allocate their energy toward having a healthy body and healthy mind.

Here are six ways for you and your loved ones to adopt healthy habits this month:

Visit The Doctor. It’s important to schedule regular checkups with your healthcare provider such as annual physical examinations. Many serious health conditions can be prevented or detected early on (with greater chances for improvement) if you prioritize visiting your healthcare provider at least once a year. If you feel like you are experiencing something out of the ordinary with your health, trust your body and check in with your doctor. Be sure to keep a list of any medicines or vitamins that may be prescribed for you along with instructions on how to take them properly. Don’t forget to schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor and dentist as well!

Engage in Physical Activity. Exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, you don’t have to start an intense workout routine in order to feel good. Exercise can be as simple as walking ten or fifteen minutes a day. You can also choose from a variety of free classes to keep your body active, such as dance, yoga and tai chi classes. There are even several online classes if you prefer to exercise in the comfort of your own home. Spending time outdoors gardening, doing yard work, riding a bike, or swimming are also excellent ways to keep your body moving. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercises to ensure they are safe for you to do.

Continue to Grow Your Social Circle. Try to spend quality time with family and friends. Participating in activities with others will strengthen your overall sense of well-being and help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. In addition to spending time with family and friends, you can socialize by taking a class (such as a cooking or drawing class), volunteering, attending religious functions, or joining a club (like a book club or gardening club). Mental health plays a very important role when it comes to healthy aging, so be sure to surround yourself with individuals you trust who have your best interests in mind.

Learn a New Skill. Have you always wanted to learn how to paint or speak Italian? This month is the perfect time to invest in learning a new skill set! As you age, it is important to continue learning new things to keep your brain active. It is also important not to lose sight of your passions or the things that bring you happiness. By continuing to participate in hobbies you love, and trying a few new ones along the way, you will be on the path to optimizing your mental and physical health.

Complete Crossword Puzzles. Many studies have shown that crossword puzzles engage multiple areas of the brain. Keeping your brain active by reading, writing, completing crosswords, putting together puzzles, and playing other challenging games will help to improve your memory and boost brain health. Engaging in these types of activities may also help lessen the risk of developing dementia.

Maintain a Healthy Diet. Eating foods that are good for you is key to increasing physical health. Try to consume a combination of fruits and vegetables that adds up to five servings a day. Nuts and whole grains are also essential ingredients for a balanced diet. Avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, fat or sugar content. Don’t forget to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day as well to help you remain hydrated.

Aging is a gift and something that deserves to be celebrated. At times it may be easy to focus on the more challenging experiences of getting older but try not to lose sight of the positive aspects. Reflect on the wonderful experiences you have had and look forward to creating new memories. Stay mentally and physically active as much as possible and deepen your relationships with family and friends. Enjoy Healthy Aging Month and remember, “The best is yet to come.”

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