We all want to be fit, healthy, and energetic. For those who cannot engage in physical activities during our “active” years, it’s important to find ways to make this happen as we get older.
There are numerous ways to promote active aging, including maintaining involvement and interaction, taking control of your health, having a positive attitude, and continuing learning.
Many people do not realize that aging does not have to mean losing your ability for fitness and wellness. Just because you’re getting up in age doesn’t mean that you should give up on your dream of achieving a healthier lifestyle. “Active aging” may just be your ticket. This post looks at what active aging is, why it’s important, and what you can do to live a healthy lifestyle at any age.
What Is Active Aging?
Active aging can be defined as the ability to live without disability or limitations due to age, retaining the capacity for an active lifestyle, and contributing to society in a meaningful way. In other words, active aging is about making the most out of later life through healthy lifestyles that include physical activity and social engagement.
Active aging has been described as “a new approach to dealing with growing older,” “a fundamental change in the way we look at aging,” and “the way we have to look at aging now.” By encouraging people to be more physically active and participate in social activities, improving their wellbeing, we can ensure they enjoy their later lives.
As a result of this shift towards active aging, there has been a greater push for research on the effects of exercise on older adults’ quality of life. This research has included studies on programs like Tai Chi and yoga. These programs have shown a positive impact on reducing harmful side effects of aging, such as falls, osteoporosis, and depression.
4 Best Ways to Promote Active Aging
There are many different things that you can do to help you stay active and involved—and that’s exactly what these four tips are about.
1) Maintain Involvement and Interaction
According to Harvard Medical School, staying active throughout one’s life can extend it—in fact, it’s as good at prolonging life as keeping a healthy weight. To reap the full benefits of this, you need to choose activities that are fun and give you a sense of being more engaged with the world around you.
Here are some ways to stay active and connect with others:
- Activities that keep your mind sharp, such as board games or trivia nights (number 1 on the list). These strengthen your social bonds because you’ll get to know those around you better and learn from them.
- Activity groups like religious study groups (number 2) and volunteer opportunities (number 3). They’re a great way to feel like you have an impact on your community and also connect with other members of it.
- Activity groups that bring in new people, such as meetups (number 4) or adult education classes. These can help you meet not only new people in the area but also discover new interests you may never have thought about before.
2) Take Control of Your Health
The second way to promote active aging is by taking control of your own health. Whether you’re in your 20s or 70s, keeping healthy and fit is the best way to stay mobile, remain independent, and maintain a high quality of life.
The first step to achieving any goal is setting a timeline and realistic goals for what you want to achieve. This can be done by establishing a series of simple goals and rewards. For instance, you might say to yourself that in six months, you’ll take a yoga class three times a week, and in the meantime, if you go twice a week, you’ll get a manicure.
Alternatively, if you’re going to start an exercise program, set small achievable goals for yourself, such as walking around the block daily. Let your friends and family know about your goals so they can help support them.
3) Have a Positive Attitude
We already know from the first two points that we must be prepared with support systems and understand the importance of staying physically healthy. A positive attitude goes hand-in-hand with those things because it helps us keep a good attitude when dealing with daily challenges.
When you feel like you’ve been dealt a bad hand and life isn’t fair, it’s easy to give up on yourself and your ability to improve your health. A positive attitude keeps you motivated, even in the face of age-related obstacles like declining vision or hearing loss.
Focusing on the positives in life and maintaining an optimistic outlook is a great way to keep moving forward and staying active. Keeping active is important as we get older so we can maintain our health and fight off illness as long as possible—and staying positive will help us do that.
4) Keep Learning
It’s important to always learn new skills, pick up new hobbies, and broaden your horizons—but it’s especially important as you age. You may feel like you’ve got it all figured out, but even if you’re not going through any major changes or challenges at the moment, why not keep challenging yourself? Your brain will be much healthier for it in the future.
Learning doesn’t have to mean reading a book or taking a class. It can be as simple as watching a documentary that sparks your curiosity. Or maybe you’d like to learn how to speak another language fluently. Learning a new skill can have profound benefits for your health and happiness.
The key is to try something new and interesting that interests you rather than trying something because you think it might be good for your brain to do it.
Active aging is possible, but you must be in the driver’s seat. You can’t wait for the world to change; you have to change it yourself. You must ensure that you’re taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s not enough just to get older; you want to get better with age too.
- Frontiers: Active Aging in Very Old Age and the Relevance of Psychological Aspects
- National Institutes of Health: Association Between Exercise Type and Quality of Life in a Community-dwelling Older People: A Cross-sectional Study
- Harvard Medical School: Can Exercise Extend Your Life?
- LinkedIn: Benefits of Learning New Skills