Six ways to stay healthy as you age

How to elevate the quality of your life


photo via picserver under the creative common license

Keep in mind, genetics is not fate. While problems such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease do have a genetic component, lifestyle tends to trump genes. Physical aging is shaped by many different lifestyle choices.

1. Exercise 

Our brain and body are connected; what promotes fitness is also healthy for the mind. By exercising at least 20 minutes a day, older participants feel better, have fewer falls and fractures and experience social benefits.

2. Nurture friendships

Evidence suggests that whether it’s praying or hiking, what enhances well-being is the getting together, not the activity. People who see other people on a regular basis live longer and become sick less often. Avoiding negative family members may also enhance health and longevity. The positive emotional content was associated with healthy longevity. Having a negative, pessimistic view on life may not only result in a decline in memory and self-efficacy but may shorten your life by almost eight years.

3. Be cognitively stimulated early

The sooner the verbal cognition is learned, the lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. So basically, read to your children!

4. Stay cognitively engaged

Whether the activity is Bridge or crossword puzzles, mental exercise may be as key to keeping the mind supple as physical activity is to the body’s functioning.

5. Eat a healthy diet

Most of us know that a healthy diet means moderation in meat, sugar, and fat, and plenty of vegetables and fruit. Those fruits and veggies are also benefiting the brain.

The capacity of fruits and vegetables to absorb damaging free radicals cuts the risk of dementia. Hydrating is essential and dehydration causes malfunctions.

6. Throw out nasty habits

Don’t smoke. Smoking constricts blood vessels and may decrease cognitive capacity.


It’s a no-brainer: An engaging social environment, combined with good nutrition and daily exercise, helps keep the brain healthy. Older people who are involved with friends, physical activities, and lifelong learning. Wholehearted participation in these pursuits gives meaning to old age and helps elevate the quality of life for those years.