6 Ways to Age Successfully
Karla Belzer, Extension Family Life Educator - University of Illinois
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Studies have shown there are six main characteristic to aging successfully:
Maintaining a positive or optimistic attitude. People who are more positive and optimistic are more resilient due to their creative, flexible, and open ways of thinking about things. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Let go of worry and practice self-care by managing your stress, laughing, and practicing positive self-talk.
Stay socially active. Get involved in a cause or interest, pursue a passion, and do something you enjoy each day. Being socially active will help you reduce stress and benefit your mental and physical well-being.
Live with purpose. Looking beyond yourself through giving to others is a hallmark of people who live with purpose. Consider volunteering in your community and think of ways you can give back. Share a talent or skill with others. Work as a mentor or tutor. Volunteering is a great way to build purpose into your social relationships.
Eat well. What you eat and how active you are plays a role in how well you age. Strive to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Adopt a heart healthy diet and use the My Plate method and recommendations made at www.choosemyplate.gov
Be physically active. Physical activity is good for your body and your brain – improving reaction times, concentration, and focus. Aim to be physically active a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity three days per week. Make sure you start out slow and do something you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.
Challenge yourself intellectually. Stimulating your brain with new, interesting, and increasingly difficult tasks helps it stay healthy. Try a new hobby, learn something new, take a class, or play brain games.
We are all aging. Every minute you are older than you were a minute ago. By looking past the negative stereotypes and changing your view of aging, you can to look forward to your later years rather than dreading them.
Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” You can age successfully and lead a productive, inspiring, and fruitful lifelong into your golden years.
University of Illinois Extension Family Life Educators have a program on positive aging titled, “I’m Positive, I’m Aging.” To learn more about this program, contact your local Family Life Educator.