The Five Pillars of Healthy Aging
There are many misconceptions about what it means to age. Some think that aging is a process in which you become weaker and less independent; some even believe that aging will lead to death. The truth, however, is much more positive than the myths surrounding it. With good health habits like staying active and eating healthy, older adults can maintain their independence for years with few side effects of old age.
This blog post discusses five pillars of good health behaviors an individual should adopt as they get older: good nutrition, physical activity, social engagement, mental stimulation and meaningful activities and relationships. These tips may seem simple but they have been proven time again to help reduce the negative mental and physical effects associated with aging by promoting better overall wellness in later life.
1. Good nutrition
Good diet plays an important role in promoting a person’s overall well-being during his or her senior years . Nutrition ensures our bodies receive all necessary nutrients so we remain strong both physically and mentally , making it easier to cope up with age related illnesses.
A recent study analyzed data from over 17,000 participants who were tracked for 18 years on their food intake and behaviors with regard to promoting overall physical wellness. The findings showed how important it is not only what we eat but when we do so as well. Nutrient timing affects different parts of our body differently at various stages in life depending upon lifestyle habits such as stress levels or sleep patterns. These as well, can affect one’s mental state leading them to be less concerned about proper dieting choices than they should be if they want a healthier system down the road come retirement time.
Good nutrition in seniors is vital for their good physical and mental health. It can help them better enjoy the golden years of life, free from diseases that come with poor diets such as obesity and diabetes.
2. Physical activity
Physical activity is just as important for healthy aging. It can help seniors be more productive and active throughout the day, maintain a strong body composition, avoid serious chronic diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease as they age, and gain muscle strength which will reduce their risk of falls later in life when mobility declines at older ages.
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides several guidelines when it comes to physical activity . They include up to 60 minutes of exercise every day, exercising in intervals lasting at least 10 minutes each with two minutes of rest in between, doing 20-minutes of exercise several days a week and exercising at moderate intensity.
For healthy seniors, it is important to focus on exercises that target the body’s main muscle groups such as the arms and legs. It is also vital they engage in activities that can be maintained over longer periods of time so they don’t lose interest in healthy lifestyle changes.
3. Social engagement
For healthy aging, social engagement is an important part of life.
Seniors who are socially engaged tend to be more healthy and physically fit than those who are lonely or isolated during their senior years. Studies have shown how seniors who maintain healthy relationships with friends and family are less likely to succumb to diseases that cause physical disabilities or mental illnesses .
The WHO recommends healthy seniors engage in social activities at least twice each week. This could be something simple like attending events or festivals, spending time with family members at home, meeting up with friends for healthy dinners or drinks, doing volunteer work or joining support groups for healthy aging .
4. Mental stimulation
Mental stimulation in seniors can help promote active and healthy aging. It might be tough to think of things that would stimulate an older person’s mind, but there are many ways it can be done!
For example, reading a good book or watching television shows with complex plots. Research has shown these activities have been found to reduce the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 65% because they require mental activity necessary for memory retention and cognitive function needed for learning new information (Davis et al., 2009). The more regularly this is practiced, the better one’s brain will perform at all levels – from recalling what you just watched on TV last night, remembering where your keys were left yesterday morning before leaving home, or recalling the names of people you just met. This kind of mental stimulation is healthy for the brain, and healthy brains are important in healthy aging.
5. Meaningful activities and relationships
A study has found that seniors who participate in meaningful activities and relationships are healthier than those who do not.
Many people believe that health is an indicator of happiness, but the truth may be more complicated. For example, a recent study shows how important social interactions can affect older adults’ well-being for better or worse by looking at two groups: one group with good ties to family members and friends (Couples without children) while another consists of single individuals living alone (Single Without Children). The results showed as expected – couples were generally happier because they had someone to share their lives with; however surprisingly this was less true when these men lived long enough to become frail suggesting loneliness becomes detrimental towards elderly’s mental state even if they have someone by their side.
Healthy seniors should maintain healthy relationships and healthy interactions because the positive effect of having these healthy connections will help improve their overall health and well-being for healthy aging .
Aging is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. The five pillars of healthy aging are a good start for anyone looking to maintain their mental and physical health as they age. If you think your body or mind could use some help managing the effects of getting older, contact us today at (678) 494-8129 or email us at info@SilverCompanionsGA.com . We can provide holistic care tailored specifically towards what you need at this stage in life so that it’s easier on both your body and mind!