It’s no secret that some people age better than others. They have fewer wrinkles, more muscle tone, flatter stomachs, and fewer chronic illnesses. Scientists have conducted multiple studies to discover the keys to aging well. Here are some tips based on their findings:
- Don’t smoke. Nicotine can lead to a whole host of chronic illnesses, including COPD, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It also damages your skin, causing premature wrinkles.
- Be social. An active social life will help ward off depression and also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. If you’re having a tough time meeting new people, try joining a club (e.g., book club, gardening club), doing volunteer work, joining a church group, and/or meeting people who have similar interests via a Meetup group.
- Exercise. Regular exercise reduces stress, improves brain function, builds muscle, and can help you maintain a healthy weight. Take a brisk 30-minute daily walk around your Kansas City neighborhood. Add in some strength training three times a week and also some exercises to improve balance.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help keep your body functioning at top capacity. You’ll also want to include some “super foods” like blueberries, broccoli, fish that’s high in omega-3s (e.g., salmon, mackerel, tuna), and nuts. And make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
- Protect your skin from the sun. Stay out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays (with an SPF of at least 30) every day, even when it’s cloudy outside. Sunscreen can help protect your skin from new wrinkles, and some scientists believe it can even reverse the signs of aging. It can also help prevent skin cancer.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep rejuvenates the body, but many people develop insomnia as they get older. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, talk to your Kansas City primary care physician.
- Laugh. Laughing is good for the heart and lungs. It also reduces stress and boosts your immune system. For a good laugh, attend more social outings, go to a comedy show, and/or watch comedies on television.
If mobility issues are preventing you from aging gracefully, you may want to enlist the help of a Kansas City home health agency.