“Do not regret growing old. It’s a privilege denied to many.”—Unknown
Where did the time go??
NO ONE wants to get old.
If we had our choice, we would likely combine the wisdom of age with the vitality of youth. Ponce de Leon had that in mind when seeking the “Fountain of Youth” in Florida centuries ago.
Yet, here we are.
If you are a woman aged 55+ reading this article, you understand precisely what I mean about getting older.
The aging process affects everyone. It is inescapable.
It begins almost imperceptibly—a little ache here, a little wrinkle there, and a few gray hairs—but eventually, it engulfs a person in its unrelenting grip.
Never in history have so many felt the effects of old age.
A significant reason for the increase in the number of older ones is the success of medical science in controlling death-dealing diseases.
But often, how one adjusts to aging determines one’s happiness or lack thereof.
Some have called the period of old age “golden years.”
If you are not plagued by illnesses, regrets, or fears, getting older may be a tranquil period—you accept aging gracefully.
However, others would call old age not “golden,” but a “disaster,” or like a “shipwreck.”
For some, the thought of old age brings a conflict of images.
There is one image of lost youth, declining strength, and the possibility of a lonely death.
The other image is achieving something in life and getting respect and honor.
Thus, for one who has reached an advanced age, the rapidly approaching years are both entrancing and terrorizing.
And our society is obsessed with pointing out the negative aspects of aging.
But if you are fortunate not to deal with physical and mental health issues, continue reading.
In this article, I will share ideas on aging gracefully, which involves caring for your physical and mental health and overall well-being.
7 Tips on How to Age Gracefully, and Yes, magnificently:
- Stay physically active: Regular exercise can help keep your body healthy and strong, improving balance, flexibility, and overall wellness. Allow yourself to feel playful and energetic. When you desire fun, take time out to keep up with your favorite hobbies and sports.
Regular cardiovascular exercise: walking, running, swimming, and exercise classes. And do some strength-training exercises to strengthen your muscles and bones to support your body.
Did you know that there is evidence that strength training, including Pilates and yoga, can reverse the aging process and help prevent age-related diseases such as osteoporosis? It’s true!
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help you keep fit and energetic. Eat high-quality food (versus fast food!) to maintain good health after 55. Nutrient-rich foods will also help you minimize the risk of diseases. Some food examples:
Low-fat or fat-free milk products
- Get enough rest: Proper sleep is essential for your body to repair and restore itself, so ensure you get enough restful sleep each night. You will find many helpful ideas in this article on my blog: https://goldenpenllc.com/improve-the-quality-of-your-life-sleep/
The article also suggests ways to defeat insomnia if this is your situation.
- Practice stress management: Chronic stress can take a toll on your body and mind, so find healthy ways to manage stress. According to com, there are three types of stress:
Acute stress (happens to all of us in reaction to a new situation, such as an auto accident or challenge, such as public speaking).
Episodic stress (you have frequent episodes of acute stress).
Chronic stress (you experience long-term, high-level stress that can lead to anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and other adverse health impacts).
Some healthy ways to manage stress include:
Deep breathing exercises
Keeping a journal
- Stay socially active: Maintaining social connections can help you stay engaged and positive as you age. PubMed says, “Social engagement joins exercise and enrichment as a key lifestyle factor in resistance to age-related cognitive decline.”
Productive activity does not mean doing unusual things to achieve joy:
Visiting a friend.
You are playing intellectually stimulating games with others.
You are attending an online course, learning something new.
It is finding a hobby (playing music, watercolors, and doing pottery).
We are embracing social media.
I am volunteering at an animal shelter.
I am tapping into technological resources to prevent isolation.
Older people can learn new things and adopt unique lifestyles.
- Embrace a positive attitude: Maintaining a positive attitude and focusing on what you’re grateful for can help you feel happier and more fulfilled as you age.
The benefits to your health of a positive attitude:
You may prevent a first-stroke heart attack.
You are less likely to catch colds.
You are likelier to remain hopeful despite challenging circumstances.
You’ll be more grateful, which can improve sleep, mood, and immunity.
- Take care of your skin: Cleanse your skin gently to remove pollution, makeup, and other substances without irritating the skin. Protect your skin from the sun and use moisturizers and other products to help prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging.
As my all-time favorite actress Bette Davis said: “Old age ain’t no place for sissies!”
How true this statement is!
Though psychologists speculate that we acquire a more balanced perspective through hard-earned experience, some fear getting older.
Seniors fear a decline in memory function especially.
As we age, we believe a reduction in the quality of our life is unavoidable.
And much to my dismay, many mature ones, when challenged to take up a new venture, will protest, “I am too old to learn!”
Growing and learning should never cease.
To quote Bette Davis again, “The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.”
Dr. Susan Whitbourne, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and past president of the American Psychological Association’s Division on Aging, cautions:
“Don’t get bogged down in all the hype about aging. Once you start thinking about it, it can drive you mad. There’s nothing you can do; the clock is going to tick anyway.”
So why not approach aging with a new attitude?
I challenge you to age gracefully, adventurously, wholeheartedly, excitedly, enthusiastically, optimistically, and magnificently!
To Age Gracefully involves:
- Staying physically active.
- Maintaining a healthy diet.
- Getting enough rest.
- Practicing stress management.
- Staying socially active.
- Embracing a positive attitude.
- Taking care of your skin.
Remember, aging is a natural part of life.
Embrace the changes that come with it.
Take care of your body and mind by staying engaged with the world.
You can age gracefully and enjoy all that life has to offer.
Now go out there and embrace your golden years.
Live life on your terms and without fear!
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”—Abraham Lincoln
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”—C.S. Lewis