While there are many factors not under our control when it comes to aging (such as genetics), there are many things we should make a priority when it comes to healthy aging. These are steps we can be making from an early age–we should be proactive about healthy aging rather than kickstarting healthy-aging habits when we are middle-aged or older. Getting an early start on healthy aging could help you maintain your independence, security and productivity as you get older.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has a series, What Doctors Wish Patients Knew™, to inform and educate people when it comes to making sense of the health headlines. In a recent installment, a panel shared nine things they wish people understood about healthy aging.
For one, mobility is of the utmost importance when it comes to physical well-being. We hear a lot about how to run or lift weights, for example, but the basic ability to move well within your day-to-day life is essential. A simple check the doctors suggest: getting up out of a chair without using your arms. If you’re unable to do this, they suggest speaking to a health professional about developing your core strength and avoiding loss of mobility.
Also, as much as keeping active is important for healthy aging, so is making time to relax. Alleviate chronic stress by ensuring you make time for restful activities. Whether you read, go for a walk, cook, or garden, to name just a few, to make it a regular habit, you need to be realistic about the demands you’re making on yourself, and adjust accordingly as needed. You may want to consider a favourite pastime you’ll let fall to the wayside versus picking up a brand new activity, for example.
While you can’t change your genetics, you can set yourself up well by knowing your family history. Knowing what runs in your family will make you aware of early signs to look for and adjust your lifestyle accordingly so that you can minimize your risk.
For more insight on what doctors wish you knew about healthy aging, check out the full AMA article here.