Monday, April 5, 2021


By Luke Smith

People photo created by karlyukav -

Much as we’d all like to think that we could remain young forever, aging is an unavoidable fact of our existence when we are fortunate enough to enjoy a long life. As you head beyond middle age, and those telltale signs start to appear — a gray hair here, a wrinkle there — it can be natural to become concerned about what the future might hold. The good news is that your later years can still be rich and active. 

However, it’s probably fair to say that this doesn’t always come as naturally or as easily as when you were younger. You have to acknowledge that your body is changing and that this fact can often present challenges that you need to overcome to navigate your later years with relative comfort. As such, you need to put strategies and routines into place that help to make certain that though you may be aging, you’re doing so healthily. 

A Mindful Diet

One of the main areas in which your behavior can benefit your aging process is how you eat. Indeed, maintaining a balanced diet has long been considered a central element of promoting health and wellness as you age. A combination of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins helps to ensure that you maintain the level of nutrition that your body needs to function effectively and gives you that all-important energy to keep active. While it might seem as though this should be a goal throughout your life, it is important to be mindful of the fact that as your body gets older, so too do your nutritional needs change. 

A point of attention needs to be directed toward your calorie intake. As you age, your basal metabolic rate decreases. This often means that you need fewer calories to maintain energy than you do when you are younger — which also means if you are consuming the same amount of calories you may find your weight will increase. You can help to counter this by including more whole grains and vegetables in your diet and ensuring that any dairy you consume is low-fat. 

It’s also worth considering that as you age, tissue regeneration tends to slow down. This not only contributes to the signs of skin aging, but it also means that it can result in a slower healing rate when you experience wounds. As such, while you’re reducing calories in your diet, you also have to make sure that you are maintaining adequate protein levels to improve tissue growth, repair, and maintenance. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for the average adult is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. However, this may need to rise as you get older, depending on health conditions you experience, and you should consult your doctor or dietician on this accordingly. 

Commitment to Exercise

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Among the main steps to keep your body fit and healthy as you get older is maintaining a routine of regular exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go hard at the gym every day, or start running marathons — unless, of course, you enjoy doing those things. Rather, you should understand that moderate exercise, no matter what time of life you are in, has not just holistic wellbeing benefits, but can also reduce the negative and avoidable signs of aging. 

From a purely surface-level perspective, alongside getting the right amount of sleep and wearing sunscreen, regularly exercising can have the effect of keeping your skin looking younger for longer. This is because activity increases the blood flow, which in turn nourishes skin cells and draws waste products away from them. Perhaps more importantly, making these efforts to keep moving limits your propensity toward a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, you may be at lower risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, and dementia. 

So, what do we mean by moderate physical activity? Adults should be aiming for around 150 minutes per week performing exercises that raise their heart rate. This could include fast walking, jogging, riding a bike, swimming, and tennis. Simply doing your household chores is not enough to be considered moderate activity, but it can be positive in the fact that it reduces time each day that you spend sitting or laying down — those signs of a sedentary lifestyle. 150 minutes a week might sound a little daunting, but it breaks down into 30 minutes per day for 5 days of your week. It’s achievable and it can have a significant effect on your wellbeing. 

Mental Health Vigilance

Staying healthy as you age is not just about keeping the physical aspects of your body in shape. It is just as important to pay attention to your emotional and mental wellbeing. Indeed, it’s vital to remember that poor mental health may make you less likely to want to engage in the exercise that bolsters your physical wellbeing, and in turn, your inability to undertake activity may limit your ability to benefit from the mood boost it can provide. There is certainly a cyclical effect present. 

Putting in place a routine of mindfulness and meditation is one of the small but helpful measures you can adopt to help keep your body feeling younger. This helps manage stress and is as simple as taking a couple of moments each day to just check in with yourself, be honest about how you are feeling and why. This can be a great tool in catching signs of mental or emotional challenges early enough to make changes to your approach to the day or to seek any assistance from friends, relatives, or medical professionals you may need. 

It’s also worth noting that loneliness can become a key factor in emotional and mental wellbeing as you move into old age. While huge amounts of socialization aren’t appropriate for everyone, you should certainly make efforts to build a small support network. Make regular efforts to talk to these people — both on the phone and in person. Studies also show that making efforts to socialize as we get older keeps our brain functions sharp. 


There is no silver bullet to halt aging — it’s a fact of our reality. However, by keeping a regular routine of exercise and eating healthily, you can help to slow down the more negative effects of the aging process. Alongside keeping mentally and emotionally mindful, you can move toward old age with positivity and grace. 

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