How old are you?
Now, how old do you feel?
If the second number is higher than the first, keep reading. Actually, keep reading anyway. Because September is Healthy Aging Month, an opportunity to focus on all the positives that come with growing older.
It’s also an opportunity to make sure we’re doing the things that we should do to ensure that growing older is, in fact, a positive experience. It’s part physical and part mental. And if we do things right, we can absolutely get better with age.
Carolyn Worthington, the editor in chief of Healthy Aging magazine, created national Healthy Aging Month to remind us all that we have the power to age exactly the way we want.
“We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out, ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new,’” she said. “Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”
Focus on Your Health
Have you had your annual physical this year? If not, it’s time to schedule it. There’s nothing to be gained from putting it off and leaving open the possibility that some sort of ailment will jump up and surprise you. And that it might have advanced farther than necessary before you discovered it.
An annual physical is a chance to examine your overall health, so you and your primary care physician can come up with a plan to help you achieve your best health — and maintain it year after year.
In addition to your physical, be sure to keep up on any other regular health screenings that you may require. For women, in particular, this means your annual mammogram if you’re over age 40.
Beyond that, keep it simple. Staying sharp physically is a big key to staying sharp mentally, too. Maybe you like to run, ride a bike, play tennis. Whatever it is, make it a part of your regular routine. It could be as simple as going for a walk in the neighborhood each evening after dinner. If you’ve got a dog, bring your pup along. They need the exercise, too.
Of course, you’ll also want to watch what you eat. Healthy eating habits can not only extend your life but also greatly enhance your quality of life. When you eat better, you’ll look better and you’ll feel better.
Think Young, Feel Young
They say age is just a state of mind.
Once you’re old enough to drive, cast a vote, and enjoy a glass of wine, there aren’t too many numerical milestones left to clear.
Healthy Aging magazine offers 10 tips for reinventing yourself during this special month. The first tip asks you to think about your best, most enjoyable age. Was it 28? Was it 40? Picture yourself at that age and then live like you lived at that age. Positive thinking goes a long way.
The magazine offers other simple tips that make a big difference — things like standing up straight, walking confidently, seeking out the company of positive people, and, of course, smiling more.
Infusing your life with activity and excitement can have a life-altering effect on your everyday experience. If you want to be happier, start by projecting happiness and positivity onto others. You’ll be amazed at how that positivity is returned. And you’ll love how great it makes you feel.
Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do. Take up painting or piano or pilates. Whatever it is, make it happen … and make it fun.
This is your time to live your best life. Aging healthy isn’t as difficult as it sounds because you are in control.