No one looks forward to getting old, but aging doesn't have to mean the deterioration of your health.
- TIP: Stay busy, and maintain healthy patterns of thought, learning from others who have adjusted to age. Be at peace.
- Step 1: Engage your mind daily with crosswords, puzzles, and stimulating activities. Maintain a connection to the world around you through reading the news or keeping up with current events.
- Step 2: Walk as much as possible, soak in warm water for aching joints, and stretch often for flexibility as a hedge against injury. Stay active and keep a healthy attitude, and you'll feel younger.
- FACT: As of 2007, around 80 percent of elderly Americans were living with at least 1 chronic condition, according to the Center for Disease Control. The costs were 3 to 5 times greater than for individuals under 65.
- Step 3: Live longer by interacting with a widening circle of good friends. Research has documented that people who kept up with an active network of friends lived longer than those with only a few.
- Step 4: Observe a routine of cardiovascular exercise to maintain your weight and stay in good shape. Strengthen your muscles and bones to achieve healthy aging. Go slow at first and get some coaching if it's all new to you.
- Step 5: Stick with a confident, empathetic, personal doctor who will entertain questions and explain things thoroughly and patiently. Emotions affect health more as you age, so take steps to be aware of anxiety.
- TIP: Ask your doctor about hormone-replacement therapy, which may protect menopausal women against osteoporosis, but know that HRT also has risks, including a possible increase in your risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.
- Step 6: Maintain a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and water. An older person's digestive system works more slowly and is less tolerant of processed and spicy foods. Studies suggest a Mediterranean diet may help delay mental decline.
- Step 7: Look through your medicine cabinet to evaluate, with a physician's help, whether you might reduce the cost of expensive drugs by supplementing with alternatives. You may also reduce potential for negative interactions.