Healthy Aging Month: 12 Ways to Boost Well-Being

Healthy Aging Month is observed throughout September and strives to raise awareness about the positive side of aging. Now is the perfect opportunity for adults of any age to adopt healthier habits that set them up for healthy aging. Whether it's another career, practicing a new sport, or visiting a new place, there are so many ways aging adults can re-invent themselves, no matter their age.

Healthy couple holding each other outdoors as they laugh together

As we age, it's easy to focus on the negative aspects of growing old. Our vision deteriorates, joint pain occurs more frequently, and things don't taste the same as they used to. However, there are just as many (if not more) good things that come with age, such as perspective, confidence, and wisdom. Technology and changing mindsets toward aging make growing old easier than ever before. Not only that, but if we develop healthy habits now, we will set ourselves up for many years of graceful aging.

During this month, Summit Medical Group wants to encourage adults to take personal responsibility for their physical, social, mental, and financial health. Listed below are 12 ways to boost your well-being during National Healthy Aging Month and throughout the year.

1. Socialize

There is a growing body of evidence that shows a correlation between positive social connections and longevity. So, during Healthy Aging Month, make it a point to engage with positive people who support you and push you to try new things. If your social circle is limited, consider taking a local class or volunteering.

2. Don't act your age

It's never a good idea to act based on how other people your age behave. Think about your favorite age; were you 25? Perhaps 45? Or maybe even 65? Imagine yourself then and do what you did then. It isn't denial — it's a positive mindset, and it will help you improve your self-perception.

3. Be positive

When you talk to other people (and even in your mind to yourself), practice being positive. If you notice yourself complaining, try to think of something positive instead. If your social circle is filled with negative-leaning people, consider distancing yourself from them. It might not be easy, but surrounding yourself with these types of personalities will impact your outlook and hold you back from your best life.

4. Walk confidently

Even if you are the least confident person in the world, no one will know if you don't show it. Healthy Aging Month is just as much about improving emotional wellness, and one way to do that is walking like someone with confidence. Even if you have to fake it, you will eventually make it. In the same vein, don't forget your posture! Sitting up straight makes you look younger and flatters your shape. Try it in the mirror and see the difference that holding your chin up can make! That will go a long way to help you develop your confidence.

5. Smile

There is a strong correlation between happiness and the number of times you smile. But if you feel self-conscious about your smile, why not do what you can to improve your wellbeing? Your dental health is just as important as your mental health, but unfortunately, it often goes unchecked. This month, consider making an effort to schedule a dentist appointment and get in the habit of flossing.

6. Be proactive about your health

In addition to catching up on your dental appointments, consider scheduling your yearly physical, or see a specialist to take care of that problem you've been ignoring. This way, you can give yourself peace of mind knowing that you are responsible for your health.

7. Try a new hobby

Is there a particular activity you've always wanted to try, but never had time to practice before retirement? Why not make a promise to yourself to try it during Healthy Aging Month? Challenging yourself to learn a new skill or hobby is a great way to stimulate your brain and even meet new people. You can also find numerous free classes and tutorials online.

8. Take naps

Naps aren't only for young children; they are for everyone! For older adults, in particular, naps can boost alertness and energy, which helps with cognition and focus. Additionally, research shows that nap-takers are 37% less likely to develop heart disease.

9. Get moving

Regular exercise is the foundation of healthy aging. Seniors should try to get two and a half hours of physical activity every week. It doesn't have to be a full-blown workout, either. Taking a walk through the park can be enough, or try simple indoor exercises.

10. Make realistic plans for yourself

Studies show that Alzheimer's is less likely to develop in older adults who have a sense of purpose. However, finding this can be challenging. While setting new goals can alleviate this issue, the trick is to create a realistic, clear-cut plan that outlines how you will accomplish it.

11. Practice fiscal responsibility

Why should you examine your expenses, make a budget, and try to trim unnecessary costs during Healthy Aging Month? Because doing so can help you save money so you can afford the things you want, which leads to lower stress. When you know where your money is going, you can redirect it to something you want to do, such as travel, sports, or leisure.

12. Get energized the natural way

Iron deficiency causes lethargy, so if you feel frequently fatigued, look for iron-rich foods such as spinach, meat, beans, and dried fruit. Getting enough iron is particularly important for women since nearly 10% of women have an iron deficiency. Another way to uplift your energy is by eating the right combination of foods. The molecules in veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats all interact after consumption, providing more energy together than if you ate just one or two at a time.

Similarly, snacking can help you maintain your energy throughout the day. Rather than eating processed foods, consider making your snacks at home, like trail mixes and energy bars. A nutritious diet is one of the best ways to fuel your body so you can get the most out of your day.

Making small changes to your lifestyle, diet, and mindset will create a better basis for healthy aging — now and in the future.