5 Ways Seniors Can Stay Young at Heart
You’re only as old as you feel. Think young, stay young. Age is only a number.
We’ve probably all heard some form of these clichés before. But research shows these phrases might be more than just platitudes. There may just be some truth behind them.
Researchers at University College London explored the issue and uncovered a fascinating result: people who thought of themselves as younger actually lived longer!
Attitude and Aging
The study included nearly 6,500 men and women with an average age of 66.
Participants were first asked, “How old do you feel you are?” Their replies were:
- 70 percent felt three or more years younger than their actual age.
- 25 percent felt close to their actual age.
- 5 percent felt more than one year older than their actual age.
Eight years after being asked that initial question, researchers followed up to determine each participant’s status. The first group, which had indicated that they felt younger than their actual age, had a lower mortality rate than the other two groups!
So it just might be that staying young at heart helps you live a longer life.
5 Ways to Help Seniors Stay Young at Heart
Here are five steps you can take to feel younger than your calendar age:
- Be Positive: Having an optimistic outlook can help you through challenging times while also building good coping skills. Being able to cope with life’s ups and downs without letting stress overwhelm you is an important skill to develop and maintain. Meditation and yoga are two practices that might help you learn to think more positively.
- Forget about the Number: Experts say that not letting your calendar age dictate what you do and how you live is another key to successful aging. Some older adults withdraw from physical activities when they hit certain age milestones, for example, because they think they are too old for them. Or they give up on eating healthy because they think it doesn’t matter anymore. Keep focusing on wellness, and forget about how old your driver’s license says you are.
- Stay Active: Engaging in fitness activities and not becoming overly sedentary can also help you age well. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle is now considered to be as dangerous for your long-term health as smoking! If you don’t currently follow an exercise program, speak with your primary care physician for advice. Swimming, walking, Pilates, bike riding, and tai chi might be activities to consider.
- Keep Learning: Another avenue for staying young in mind and spirit is to keep learning. Tackle new hobbies. Study a foreign language. Take a guitar class. Learning keeps your mind challenged while also nurturing the spirit. “Use it or lose it” is a phrase healthcare professionals sometimes use to encourage older adults to keep their minds engaged with life.
- Live With Purpose: Finally, living a purposeful life helps you stay young at heart. It’s easy to fall into a trap of relying on television for entertainment after you retire.. Instead, find activities that help you feel productive. Many older adults find volunteer work gives them meaning and purpose. And new research shows volunteering might help seniors live longer, healthier lives.
Independent Living at Sunrise
Independent Living residents at Sunrise enjoy an active lifestyle free from the burdens of home ownership. No more mowing the lawn on hot summer days or shoveling snow on frigid ones. Call us today to learn more!