Aging is inevitable, but does it mean we have to decline physically or mentally? Our future is largely determined by what we do in the present. This is important to you individually but also nationally. By 2050, 10 percent of the United States population will be 90 or older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To remain in robust health, these future “super-agers” must prepare for their senior years wisely.
There is no evidence that age need be a barrier to good health or productivity. But to age properly, you need to reverse engineer your unhealthy diet, lack of movement, lack of mental stimulation or other bad habits. If you do, rather than being a curse of frailty, your aging process can be an extended opportunity to live a satisfying, productive life.
The Active Mind
Harvard Health Publishing says scientists once thought that the human brain simply deteriorated in old age. Studies now show that it continues to produce new cells (neurons) until we die.
This is a truth the Trumpet has emphasized in the past, stating that the brain makes continual improvements with use and age. However, it’s not a free ride. Sharper cognitive functions are nurtured and achieved only through sufficient mental challenges and exertion.
A 2016 New York Times article by Gerald Marzorati cites growing evidence that learning and practicing a complicated skill can improve brain functions, especially memory. Quantifiable benefits can accrue from engaging in such activities as tennis, drawing or playing a musical instrument.
Social connectedness also helps tremendously. With millions of baby boomers now facing a radically shrinking social world as they retire, it brings a rising tide of loneliness. Steve Cole, director of the Social Genomics Core Laboratory at the University of California–Los Angeles, said, “Loneliness acts as a fertilizer for other diseases.” He added that the “biology of loneliness can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries, help cancer cells grow and spread, and promote inflammation in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease.”
Thankfully, seniors can counteract these negative effects by engaging in meaningful, productive activities with others. This helps create healthy social connections, maintains well-being and brings a sense of purpose. Surround yourself with friends, family and extended community. Find people with like-minded interests, volunteer for a cause, join a club, participate in a sports league or retirement community. It’s a lifestyle that leads to healthy, fulfilled, cognitively sharp senior years.
Nutrition and Exercise
It’s indisputable that wholesome foods can lead to a longer, healthier life. Yet as people age, they tend to eat more sparsely and less nutritiously; some may have trouble cooking.
Compare your body to a car. A vehicle needs quality fuel and regular maintenance to keep running smoothly. Your body also needs quality fuel (whole foods) for increased nutrition and regular maintenance, such as a cleanse or fast every now and then to keep the body’s motor running smoothly.
As much as possible, avoid processed, refined foods with inherent chemicals, preservatives, genetically modified organisms, harmful sugars, unhealthy fats and excess calories. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, oily fish, beef, poultry, eggs and dairy. If you don’t cook, look into options for home meal delivery or grocery delivery. It may be well worth the cost. In addition, a family member, friend or nutrition expert can help you plan a healthy menu.
Exercise also has countless benefits, including preventing premature aging. It improves blood circulation, elevates mood and concentration, and builds bone and muscle mass that help maintain strength and movement.
To get optimum benefits, engage in at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. Find something you enjoy, whether it’s walking, jogging, stretching, weightlifting or dancing, but stay within your fitness level. If you are unable to get outside, indoor video exercises with functional fitness, dancing, stretching or strength training make it easier to maintain a healthy routine.
Medicines seem like an inherent part of aging, and now we can add the covid vaccine to the equation. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers vaccines safe, there is evidence that countries with high vaccination rates also have higher hospitalizations for vaccine-caused illnesses.
If you are struggling with existing illnesses and chronic sickness, there is a higher danger that covid-19, or even the flu, could kill you. The vast majority of people who have died from the coronavirus are over 75 years old. But does that mean that seniors should place their faith in vaccines? There is a lot of evidence to undermine that notion. Meanwhile, lifestyle changes bring wonderful health results without side effects.
It’s not age that stops you from flourishing; it’s an inactive lifestyle and the constant addition of poisons to the body. If you are one of the few who can put forth the drive to change your lifestyle, your improved life as a super-ager awaits.