Positive Aging: The Happy, Healthy Way to Grow Older
Sponsored by Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
The world turns, and so do the pages of the calendar. Aging is inevitable, so why not make the most of it?
True, some health risks increase with age. However, if asking older adults, most are happier than they’ve ever been. According to a recent national survey of people ages 50 to 80:
- 65% say life is better than they thought it would be
- 88% are more comfortable being themselves
- 80% have a strong sense of purpose
What’s more, these prophecies seem self-fulfilling. Older adults who view aging in a better light tend to have better health, physically and mentally. Meanwhile, focusing on the negative aspects of aging can predict poor health.
Rooted in research on mood and well-being, the positive aging movement aims to highlight this trend—and help more people than ever shine in their golden years. No matter someone’s age, they can join it. These everyday steps can help mental and physical health while still continuing to pursue passions.
- Aim for foods rich in energizing nutrients. Pack the plate with brightly colored produce, whole grains, lean meats, unsalted nuts and seeds, and low-fat dairy.
- Exercise regularly. The right amount—and type—of exercise varies by age and health status. But everyone needs to move. Training for a 5K, hiking through nature, gardening … the options are endless. Even small everyday motions, like walking the dog or playing with grandkids, add up.
- Do enjoyable activities. Hobbies like traveling, dancing, reading, playing board games, or volunteering may help keep the mind and body functioning their best. These also may connect to a supportive community.
- Manage stress. Meditation, gratitude, and relaxation techniques ease strain on mental health. So can asking for help when it’s needed, and accepting it when it’s offered.
- Regularly checking health. A primary care provider can best advise on the types of screenings and preventive care needed. Also, follow up with any questions about medicines or symptoms, including signs of depression.
Note: Providers who promote positive aging treat patients as a whole person. They call attention to strengths, not just what’s “wrong” with the body. If a provider falls short, keep searching until finding another provider who promotes positive aging.
Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.