Aging with Intention: 5 Insights
As advances in science, technology and medicine enable us to continue to push the limits of human longevity; we are constantly trying to understand how we can better maintain our bodies and minds to improve the quality of life we experience in our later years.
Humans are adaptation machines. Our bodies and minds are built to react, change and grow to meet the demands that we place on them. If we can continue to challenge ourselves both mentally and physically as we age, we can have a dramatic impact on our overall condition throughout our lives.
Great! Now what?? How can we use this to our advantage? What kinds of things can we do to keep ourselves strong both mentally and physically? I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I HAVE spent a considerable amount of time researching the topic and believe I have distilled this information down to a few key findings.
You know the saying “use it or lose it”? This phrase can be applied to every aspect of longevity, but especially to staying mobile as we age. Walk, move, stretch and maintain your range of motion. Make sure to move all parts of your body regularly, by staying mobile you can maintain the flexibility of both your body and your nervous system, increasing your overall physical resilience, and decreasing the likelihood of injury.
Back to the theme of use it or lose it… Yep, the same thing goes for your mind. Exercise is not only good for your body, but also for the brain. Research is showing that continuing to learn, developing new skills, and participating in activities that require you to challenge yourself mentally is linked to both the maintenance of, and communication between brain cells.
3. Be social
We are social animals, and it turns out that engaging in social activity helps us to stay engaged, and alert. Socializing provides yet another way to stay sharp and in top mental shape by promoting and maintaining the brains neural networks. In addition, we are also more likely to engage in a higher frequency of both physical and mental activities as a result of these social relationships.
4. Eat Well
This is an obvious one, but certainly not one that can be overlooked. To add another cliché saying into the mix, “you are what you eat”. Eat a variety of whole foods. Prioritize colorful fruits and vegetables which are full of the vitamins and minerals essential for supporting the immune system and staying healthy. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to help transport those nutrients, lubricate your joints, and make it easy on your cells to perform at their highest level.
5. Think Positive
It turns out that what we think and believe has an impact on how well we age. Our self-talk and beliefs have a direct impact on our actions, and negative self-talk and beliefs around aging can keep us from being motivated to do the necessary maintenance work, making us more likely to experience rapid cognitive decline. Similarly, if we believe that we can have a positive impact on the aging process, the likelihood that we will engage activities which support a positive outcome increases dramatically.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material provided on this Site is provided for information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.
The views expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network or its affiliates.