Aging is an inevitable part of life that affects us all. We are living longer than previous generations before us, and with that comes the journey of the effects of aging on our bodies and brains. How we choose to deal with it has an impact on our quality of life in the golden years.
Experts believe there are four keys to aging gracefully and they are:
- Participating in activities that you enjoy.
- Challenging your brain.
- Embracing changes.
- Staying physically active.
Staying active, both socially and physically, may help you remain self-resilient and independent as you age. According to a study conducted at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, the more socially active you are as a senior, the more likely you’ll continue to be able to handle everyday tasks such as preparing meals, dressing and personal grooming. An additional study at Rush University Medical Center also found that older adults who move more than average, either in the form of daily exercise or just routine physical activity such as housework, may maintain more of their memory and thinking skills than people who are less active than average.
To stay sharp mentally, studies show that brain activity doesn’t improve with watching TV, but it does improve with reading, education, and memorization. Some research suggests that reading, dancing, playing musical instruments and even computer games may help prevent or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Doing things that require motor coordination and memory can keep your brain sharp.
Regular physical exercise can also help alleviate and prevent some of the chronic conditions that often accompany aging, such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day, three or four times a week, benefits emotional health, builds muscle mass, and boosts every organ system in the body. Walking is a great form of regular exercise and weight-resistance exercises should be added in the mix too. As always, check with your primary care provider before beginning any type of exercise regimen to see what is best for you.
As with any age, keeping regular appointments for check-ups with your primary care provider is essential for healthy aging. Routine bloodwork, screenings and immunizations are all important aspects to achieve the best healthy self you can be. If you notice any unusual health changes, be sure to make an additional appointment with your provider to get it checked out.
Henry County Medical Center hosted a Facebook Seminar on March 21 featuring Alison Miller. PMHNP with LakeHaven Behavioral Center. She discussed“Our Aging Brains”, which focused on learning how our mental health needs change during our life stages. To view the seminar, watch it on our Facebook page- facebook.com/hcmcparistn
Or you can watch it on our YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/XGmZhfS6N4A
For a list of all our seminars and screenings including our “You’re the One in 2021” seminars, go to our website at www.hcmc-tn.org.