13 Best Tips for Aging Gracefully for Older Women
Aging gracefully is the silver lining to growing older, and lifestyle choices greatly influence how you age. Good food choices, exercise regimes, activities, and partaking in social events can affect how you feel about aging! On that note, let’s look at some simple ways to keep your body and mind fresh.
What does aging gracefully mean?
If you’re aging gracefully, you’ll look and feel happier as you age. One common reason for people to age gracefully is less stress (work and relationship-linked stress).
Your attitude can tell a lot about whether you are aging gracefully. For example, some studies show that some seniors don’t see themselves as “old”. In fact, based on this study, about 60 percent of seniors over 65 feel younger than their age.
Here’s what aging gracefully is not. It’s not using skin care products to make your skin look younger. Neither is it coloring your grays. Today, embracing natural gray hair is a global trend. Some young adults even dye their hair gray or silver to jump onto the bandwagon since it is associated with feeling comfortable and empowered.
To age gracefully, ensure your physical and mental health stay in the best shape. After all, both these elements are intertwined. You must learn about the healthiest ways to improve your overall well-being. So, here are the most popular approaches to aging gracefully.
Monitor your meals
Pay attention to the types of foods you eat. While good nutrition is essential at any age, it becomes crucial during midlife and beyond. Eating healthy can help boost immunity, tackle illness-causing viruses, and prevent heart disease, contributing to living longer and stronger.
Some healthy foods to eat include:
- Fresh fruits like apples and bananas and vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.
- Lean proteins, including fish and beans, should also be added to daily meals.
- Foods rich in healthy fats, such as avocados, almonds, and eggs.
- Three ounces of whole grain cereals, rice, pasta, or bread.
- Three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy like milk, yogurt, or cheese. This is fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium and may help improve overall well-being.
- Olive oils for cooking instead of options rich in solid fats.
You should also avoid a couple of foods to improve your well-being, including salt, as too much of it could lower blood pressure. Also, avoid processed foods, unhealthy fats, and refined sugars. Too much of these foods could give way to health complications.
Focus on your mental health
Aging gracefully is not just about caring for your appearance. It’s also about caring for your mind. To focus on your mental health, you must:
Spend time with loved ones:
Spending time with loved ones should not be taken for granted, as creating meaningful relationships and a solid social network helps improve mental and physical well-being.
Spend time with pets:
Adopting a pet or asking family or friends to get their pets over is another way to stay calm and feel fresh. Spending time with pets can help lower stress levels, improve your mood, and curb loneliness, according to a study in the Veterinary Sciences.
Accept your age:
When you accept your age, you display a positive attitude toward life and promote better mental health. Growing old is inevitable, but aging gracefully is in our control. So, embracing your age wholeheartedly will make all the difference in improving overall health.
Do things you enjoy:
Another part of living a wholesome life is to engage in an enjoyable activity. Some outdoor activities to consider include bird watching, trekking, and going to the zoo. Playing a game of cards, making crafts, or solving puzzles are better suited if you have limited mobility.
Reduce your stress:
Stress is another mental health factor to keep tabs on. Some may experience anxiety and stress, and depression due to factors like appearance, being alone, and finances. While these factors might be unavoidable, stressing about them could lead to premature aging and wrinkles. There’s also a higher probability of developing heart conditions. Therefore, maintain your stress levels by following a few stress-relieving techniques.
This is one of the best stress management activities. It that can help you improve your focus and silence thoughts crowding your mind and causing stress.
Meditation brings peace, calm, and balance that can benefit emotional well-being and overall health. Guided meditation, visualization, and guided imagery are other forms you can practice anytime. You can try these methods during a walk outdoors, while riding the bus, or even while waiting at the doctor’s office for an appointment.
Laugh a lot
There’s a lot of truth in the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Of course, a good sense of humor may not cure an ailment, but it could lighten the mood by a significant margin. Laughing lightens mental burdens and creates a pathway for positive changes in the body. When the auditory expression fires up, it cools down the stress response. While there isn’t a fixed way to enjoy a good laugh, reading or telling jokes, watching comedy shows, and hanging out with someone with a good sense of humor are some of the best ways to enjoy a good laugh.
Write your thoughts and feelings. It can help you release unpleasant emotions that would otherwise pile up. The objective is to not think about what to write and let the thoughts flow into the journal as they come. You can use a laptop, computer, or smartphone as an alternative to paper journals.
Appreciate the good things happening in your neighborhood. Spend 15 minutes each night to write down everything that made your day worthwhile.
Many studies prove the benefits of gratitude. In one study, the authors asked a group to write about things they were grateful for that occurred during the week. They instructed a second group to note things that displeased them. After ten weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic, less stressed, and felt better about life generally.
Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise. It has received immense appreciation because of its potential to promote healthy aging and other health benefits. Practicing yoga can tackle several health conditions that come with age, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and back pain. This technique also helps reduce the effects of nerve pain, ligament tears, and hormonal changes. Eliminating these health complications will contribute to aging gracefully and living a happier, healthier lifestyle. Remember, it isn’t about being able to do a handstand, lunge, or a complex stretch. The art of yoga works differently for everyone based on age and other factors.
Try breathing exercises
Not breathing deeply leads to muscle weakness and rib cage stiffness, which can cause shallow breaths and a poor oxygen supply. Furthermore, shallow breathing could result in fatigue and discomfort. While inhaling and exhaling might seem simple, ensuring you do your breathing exercise correctly can play a significant role in aging well. Popular breathing techniques include feet, Chinese, and Buteyko breathing. Others that could improve quality of life include the following:
The objective of Complete Breathing is to feel the belly has expanded as the lungs fill with air. You must:
- Sit up straight, followed by inhaling and relaxing the stomach muscles.
- Continue inhaling until the chest expands with a deep breath.
- Hold your breath for a moment before exhaling slowly.
- Pull the belly in to feel the last bit of air leave the lungs.
- Repeat the process for about five minutes by keeping the eyes closed and the body relaxed.
The steps are similar to Complete breathing. In this exercise, you must:
- Exhale as the air is released from the lungs.
- Pull the belly muscles in as the last breath of air is hummed out of the body.
- Relax the body and repeat the steps for about two to three minutes.
One of the easiest ways to practice diaphragmatic breathing is to:
- Lie on the back and place one hand on the navel.
- Place the other hand above it on the stomach.
- Concentrate on breathing from the diaphragm.
- If the hand over the naval rises before the hand above it, the exercise is done right.
- Relax and focus on this breathing exercise for about five minutes.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is essential for the body to recharge for the next day. Getting sufficient rest is also paramount for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. The amount of rest the body gets depends on factors like age and current health conditions. So speaking to a somnologist about the amount of sleep required at night is crucial. Getting enough sleep reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, curbing stress and depression, obesity, and inflammation. Besides, it also promotes focus and improves concentration. And by reducing the risk of health complications; these factors play a crucial role in aging gracefully.
Discover new hobbies
While trying out activities at home or outdoors can be fun, repeating them daily could get monotonous. Look for new and meaningful hobbies to participate in. New hobbies can help build a sense of purpose and improve your ability to stay engaged through the golden years. Being busy with hobbies, leisure, and social activities further lowers the risk of depression, which is probably why active seniors are significantly happier living a wholesome life. There are several hobbies to try, including part-time or full-time volunteering, gardening, teaching, or learning DIY crafts. Coloring or mandala art is a trend nowadays to boost the immune system, reduce pain and stress, lower blood pressure, and promote sleep.
There might be times when uncontrollable thoughts take center stage inside the mind. The stress created by them could lead to physical and mental health issues, affecting the process of aging gracefully. You can practice mindfulness to combat these issues.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves accepting and living in the moment by focusing on the present. Being more mindful has several health benefits that could complement the aging process. It helps improve focus, memory, emotional reaction, and immune function. Also, it helps lower stress levels and promotes higher emotional intelligence.
Water is an essential nutrient to the life of every cell. It serves as a building material for the body’s optimal functioning. Therefore, it is necessary to drink water several times a day. Hydrating helps keep the bowel or bladder regular and improves brain function and energy levels. Moreover, drinking sufficient water makes the skin healthier and delays early signs of aging.
Furthermore, it decelerates the onset of chronic diseases, possibly interfering with aging. The amount of water consumed depends upon thirst, activity levels, and gender. Hydration also depends on other factors, such as daily sweat loss. So, it is better to speak with a healthcare expert about any questions regarding water intake before increasing or decreasing the amount of water consumption.
Maintain oral hygiene
Learning to age gracefully is about taking steps to maintain overall health. But there is one central element that several older individuals dismiss in their golden years, i.e., oral hygiene. Not paying attention to oral health may face downsides like gum disease, cavities, plaque, etc. Furthermore, this complication is linked to health conditions like stroke, bacterial pneumonia, and heart disease. Therefore, brushing your teeth regularly is vital for aging gracefully. Regular checkups with a dentist can benefit your oral health. Your dentist can spot signs of infections, cancer, nutritional deficiencies, and other health complications like diabetes. Avoiding these conditions may help with aging gracefully.
Set healthcare appointments
Your body may be in the best shape, mentally and physically. However, age, genetics, and other environmental factors subtly disrupt well-being. And, sometimes, we may not detect health complications until they have advanced or we make a healthcare appointment.
During your healthcare appointment, your doctor will conduct several tests to detect health problems. Such tests can help identify underlying conditions and initiate early treatment. Even if there is no upcoming health check, seek an opinion from a healthcare expert if you experience any unusual health complications and symptoms. Setting regular appointments with a healthcare expert is one of the best ways to ensure good health and age gracefully.
Try exercise routines
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, adults should do moderate-intensity exercises for at least 2.5 to 5 hours per week. About 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises could also serve as suitable workout routines, and a combination of both may also work. A few aerobic exercises you can include are walking, swimming, dancing, and cycling. You can also adjust exercise levels based on age and physical and mental capability. Muscle-and-bone-strengthening exercises with the help of weights or resistance bands are other ways to stay flexible and fit. You can also focus on balance training and aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises.
Please note: Trained supervision is required if any health issues need immediate and constant attention.
Try Tai Chi
Tai chi is meditation in motion. The technique that originated in China as a martial art is also said to have value in treating or preventing several health problems. This mind-body practice is suitable for all ages, irrespective of the level of fitness or health. The slow-motion, low-impact exercise requires going without breaks through a series of motions named for animal actions. The routine also involves breathing deeply and focusing on bodily sensations. While this might be similar to other meditation methods, the movements in tai chi are usually circular and not forced. While indulging in the technique, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed. Furthermore, the joints are never fully extended or bent, and the connective tissues are not stretched.
Try holistic approaches
Several holistic approaches can promote a healthy, happy, and improved quality of life. They include the following:
- Forgive oneself and others for what has happened in the past. Being forgiving does not necessarily mean condoning what occurred in the earlier years. Instead, relinquish the event’s hold on the mind and body. Speaking to a counselor, therapist, spiritual advisor, or support group is some of the tried and tested methods of practicing forgiveness.
- Read humorous essays, enjoy jokes, and watch funny movies even if things are not going too well, as it could help lighten up the mood.
- Stay curious and willing to learn something new. Healthcare experts recommend actively socializing with younger individuals who are the best at teaching modern things, including the current lingo and how to operate the latest technology.
We have unveiled so many things you can do to age gracefully. These approaches can help you stay healthy and happy as you age. Remember, physical and mental changes are inevitable as aging catches on. However, your goal should be to understand these changes better and follow the tips above.