In a Woman’s Day article from a couple of years ago, Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen put together a list of 10 things to do to facilitate aging gracefully.
She first pointed out that why we are often told that it’s all about genetics, in some cases it is only around 25% connected to what our parents had or did not have. For example, according to the director of the Institute for Aging and Health, Thomas Kirkwood, when it comes to grey hair and wrinkles, these are 75% affected by “stress, environment, nutrition, lifestyle [and] immunity.” In addition, there’s a lot we can do to positively impact that. The National Institutes of Health has claimed that with (the oft-recommended) diet and lifestyle changes (such as regular exercise, limited alcohol, no smoking, less red meat – resulting in lowered cholesterol and blood pressure etc.), those wrinkles and grey hair can remain at bay.
Keeping the mind active is crucial as well. Engage in brain activities. Do not accept that mental decline is a ‘natural part of aging.’ Mentally stimulating activities have been proven time and again to not only decelerate age related-mental conditions, but can in some cases even reverse it. No one is too old to start (even at 80 one can take up a new hobby, join a class, engage in something they’ve yet to try) and nothing is too small (one can just try blogging on line – keeping active, engaged and alert).
Then there is the physical side. Do not stay still! This is important at all ages, but particularly with the elderly whose serotonin levels naturally decrease with age. But for a natural boost, exercise escalates the levels pretty easily, while combating cortisol. A regular daily brisk walk, or even cycling and swimming are great ways to achieve this.
So do not just “get old,” age gracefully and make a few simple changes into your every day lives that can really change how you feel both physically and mentally.