6 Super Easy Healthy Aging Tips That Almost Everyone Can Do

My 87-year-old aunt is
an inspiration. She’s no Iron Nun, she doesn’t
run marathons on the weekend, and thru-hiking isn’t her idea of fun. Aunty
Margaret is just a regular old lady who lives her life with purpose.

Though nobody tells her, I called her old.

In addition to volunteering with the local hospice three times a week, she also cooks her own meals, cleans her own house, and drives her own car (well). My aunty walks like a woman who has somewhere to go. She’d be right at home in any one of the five Blue Zones.

Getting old doesn’t have
to be a downhill slide to decrepitude. You can’t predict the future, but if you
follow these healthy aging tips you’ll at least
be tipping the odds in your favor.

Take the Stairs

Our gym is on the first
floor. I’m always gobsmacked by how many people (especially those who are young
and in good shape) make a beeline for the elevator.

Taking the stairs has
been our m.o. for years. Even when we lived in a high rise, my spouse and I
would routinely walk up the 12 flights to our apartment. We did it because the
elevator kept breaking down, but also to stay fit and active.

There are lots of
benefits to taking the stairs besides not getting stuck in a small space with a
group of strangers. Among other things, it leads to stronger joints and
muscles, aids weight loss, and helps our bodies produce endorphins.

Train yourself to always
take the stairs. That way, if you’re ever faced with an ‘out of order’ sign on
the elevator you’ll still be able to get where you’re going. You could also
view stair climbing as an opportunity to have a mini workout.

If you have health
issues, try walking one flight and then riding up the rest of the way. Approach
it mindfully, and talk to your doctor if you’re unsure, but don’t underestimate
your body’s ability. We’re often capable of much more than we give ourselves
credit for.

Stay Aware

The great thing about
growing older is that other people’s opinions don’t matter as much. With the
angst of our younger years in the rear view mirror, being comfortable in our own
skin is easy.

Unfortunately, elderly
folks can take this a bit too far. They’ll interrupt, gossip too loudly, and
forget their table manners. While this could be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s, people often
view growing older as an excuse to behave poorly.

Take note of how you
show up in the world. Question yourself constantly. Are you courteous,
compassionate, and mannered? Do you treat others respectfully, regardless of
their place in society?

The more you think about
these things, the longer they’ll remain front-of-mind. Staying aware may not
contribute directly to your physical health, but aging gracefully definitely
plays a role in healthy aging.

Eat Your Beans

The Blue Zones Diet, which
comprises health secrets of the world’s longest-lived people, is big on beans.
According to Dan Buettner, the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world
is about a cup of beans per day.

Instead of looking for a
longevity supplement, he recommends buying beans. With good reason, too. Beans
offer an array of health benefits and are
especially beneficial if you’re focusing on after-40 nutrition.

They’re high in fiber, a
good source of protein, packed with antioxidants, and low in fat. Beans are
also inexpensive and extremely versatile, which makes them easy to incorporate
into your budget as well as your diet.

Stay Socially Active

Seniors often struggle with loneliness. Sadly, this is
a symptom of old age. Your peer group, spouse, and older family members begin
passing away. It’s the cycle of life. We often get complacent as we grow older,
relying on our current social circle for company.

This is one of the
reasons my aunt is still so sprightly. She’s very active in her community and
makes a point of engaging with people on a regular basis. There’s a tendency
among older people to not want to go out as much. They prefer to stay home and
watch TV.

This is problematic on
two levels. Firstly, it reduces your contact with the outside world, which in
turn diminishes your ability to stay aware. If you never interact with people,
how will you know if you’re behaving well?

Secondly, if you rarely
go out, you won’t meet new people or make new friends. You lose the
ability to hold a decent conversation. Even small talk becomes challenging.
When your only point of reference is what you see on television, you quickly
lose grip on reality.

Take Charge of Your Health

In his latest book, The Blue Zones of Happiness, longevity expert Dan Buettner says the world’s happiest people all share a number of traits, one of which is visiting the doctor and dentist for regular checkups.

Proactively managing
your health is a key part of aging well. It’s easy to
ignore when you’re younger and still in good shape, but that’s exactly when you
should be focusing on your health.

Keeping your body
healthy is easier and cheaper than trying to fix it when things start to go
wrong. Don’t underestimate the value of seeing a dental hygienist every six
months or testing for specific illnesses, such as breast cancer or diabetes,
especially if they run in your family.

Be Careful of Your Words

Don’t buy into the myths about aging. Yes, your
eyesight might deteriorate, your joints might stiffen, and sex may not be as
frequent, but none of that is necessarily a given.

Use your words wisely. Avoid saying things like “At my age, it’s no wonder I [fill in the blank].” Instead, don’t say anything at all. Do daily eye exercises, take up Pilates or yoga, occupy your mind with brain games.

Maybe you’ll still end
up with reading glasses and creaky knees, but maybe you won’t. Healthy aging is a grand
adventure. You won’t avoid old age but getting there will be a lot more fun.

How do you feel about
growing older? Do you think healthy aging is in your hands or do you feel like
it’s out of your control? Let’s have a conversation!