The average U.S. adult can now expect to live up to 78.7 years. As you age, it becomes more and more important to take care of your physical and mental health so that these years can be full of positive moments. While it is impossible to prevent every health condition, research has revealed that much can be done to significantly improve one’s quality of life.
In fact, researchers have even isolated the top behaviors of the world’s happiest seniors. Beacon of LIFE shares the proven activities and behaviors that can contribute to an enhanced quality of living as we age.
Get active each day.
With age, physical activity often becomes limited and more painful. Despite the temptation to give in to these limitations by becoming sedentary, movement is one of the best tools to staying happy and healthy.
There are always ways to move your body — be it running, walking, or even just staying on your feet for 15 minutes. If possible, it is best to be in motion for at least 30 minutes per day. You can participate in exercises such as tai chi, walking, water aerobics, tennis, or anything else that you enjoy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular movement can reduce anxiety symptoms, maintain bone and joint health, prevent falls, and decrease blood pressure.
Uncover what makes you feel fulfilled.
The Chicago Tribune reported that seniors who feel fulfilled with purpose live longer. They also have improved mood and well-being.
No matter your interests, there is something out there that can make you feel a sense of purpose on a daily basis. Oftentimes, this takes the form of a beloved hobby. Nowadays, there is a large number of seniors who are finding purpose by starting their own businesses. The daily activities required to run a successful business can keep seniors busy, leading to feelings of happiness.
If you’ve been considering starting a business, it is important to decide how far you’ll be taking this new endeavor. If you choose to get serious about making sales, it might be worthwhile to start an LLC. For those unfamiliar with this, an LLC provides tax advantages and reduces your financial liability (among other benefits). To save money, you can either choose to file it yourself or by using a formation service. Prior to forming your LLC, it is wise to check all applicable state regulations.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Consuming a diet rich in plants has been proven to be beneficial for all individuals. This is especially true for seniors. In addition to the physical benefits (such as reduced blood pressure, increased bone health, and reduced risk of chronic disease), fruits and vegetables can improve your mood and overall mental health.
Participate in social groups.
Above and beyond all other lifestyle factors, loneliness and social isolation can be extremely detrimental to one’s physical and mental health. In seniors, loneliness can greatly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, depression, heart disease, anxiety, and many other chronic conditions.
That is why as we age, it is essential to participate in social groups. Having friends and a strong support system is key to living a happier and more fulfilled life.
Instead of letting life happen — or becoming overly obsessive with our health — taking strategic steps to stay happy and healthy is the wisest thing seniors can do as they age. When you follow the research on what is proven to preserve both physical and mental health, you can age as gracefully as possible.
This article was written exclusively for Beacon of Life, by Sharon Wagner of Senior Friendly.