The Fountain of Youth: Lifestyle Changes Can Lead to Longer Lives
Easy Ways to Increase Long-Term Health for Seniors
Exercise. Physical exercise is one of the best ways to prevent some of the health problems that come along with age, such as diabetes and heart disease. For the maximum effect, combine aerobic activity such as walking or biking with muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights (even soup cans count as “weights”!). And you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to gain fitness. Even moderate exercise has been shown to positively impact health.
Eat whole foods. We all know we should eat healthy, but what, exactly, does that mean? Many specialty diets claim to improve health, from low-carb to low-fat, Keto to Paleo—even the Cabbage Soup Diet. But for long-term sustainability, it’s best to eat a whole-foods diet: fresh fruits and vegetables; lean meats, fish, and eggs; whole-grain wheat and brown rice; and beans, peas, and other legumes. With that nutritional base, “no-no’s” like dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee are still fine in moderation.
Avoid toxins. We all know the dangers of cigarette smoking, and the impact it has on health and aging. But some researchers also believe environmental toxins can speed up the aging process. Gerontogenes are external substances that can affect the body’s biological age. And while cigarette smoke is the primary culprit, other chemicals such as benzene, chemotherapy, and air pollution may hasten aging. To control what you can, consider buying a home air purifier.
Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just a luxury—it’s a medical necessity. Even a single night of sleep deprivation can promote biological aging in older adults, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Unfortunately, sleep can be elusive to many seniors. Eating large meals earlier in the day and following a regular bedtime routine can help.
Reduce stress. Many studies show that stress can speed up aging at the cellular level. Depression, anxiety, and even loneliness can all impact DNA function. Reducing daily stress helps prevent this damage. So, consider mental and physical activities that shift your focus. Try meditation, yoga, or practicing hobbies that you enjoy, such as puzzles, music, or painting. These are all activities that you can find in abundance at Cumberland Village, where we believe in helping seniors achieve the perfect balance of physical, mental, and emotional health.