Healthy Living: What Is Positive Aging?
Positive aging is a hot topic these days; it’s a lifestyle that accepts that we will get older. Age doesn’t need to prevent you from leading a healthy lifestyle. While aging is inevitable, diminished quality of life is not.
Our world values are not set in stone. We invite you to challenge the negative attitudes you may have toward aging. Not everyone sees age as something negative; instead, they see it as a natural part of life.
Ageism refers to “how we think (stereotypes), feel (prejudice), and act (discrimination) toward others or ourselves based on age”. It's everywhere, as you can see by this infographic from WHO.
The good news is that ageism can be combatted through policy and law that protect human rights and address age discrimination, educating individuals on ageism to enhance their empathy, and connecting people of different generations.
At AAIM, we want to change attitudes about aging. What does healthy living look like for an older person? Here’s how you can embrace a more positive attitude about aging:
Prioritizing Physical Activity
Even though your body changes as you get older, it’s still important to stay physically active. We recommend aiming for 30-60 minutes of activity each day. Doing so offers physical and mental benefits.
If you're new to engaging in activity be sure to check in with your doctor first. Start slowly and gradually increase your time.
Not sure what kinds of activities to try? If you deal with chronic pain, mobility issues, or arthritis, you may feel like your options are limited. But there are plenty of ways to practice physical healthy living, including:
- Urban Poling (or Nordic Walking)
- Steppin’ up with Confidence class
Staying Socially Active
Socializing is a great way to fill our days with positive emotions and manage stress. Sometimes, all we need to shake off a bad day is a good laugh with our friends.
Life is richer when we share it with loved ones. Stay connected to your community by participating in different events and programs.
Need help with planning a healthy diet? By eating right, you can boost your immune system and be at a lower risk of having a heart attack. Here are a few healthy eating tips to get you started:
- Incorporate leafy greens in your meals. Try to find ways to eat kale, spinach, collard greens, and dandelion greens. You can add them to a smoothie, cook them in a soup, or sauté them in a stir fry.
- Eat more whole grains. Examples include oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread or pasta.
- Drink more water. Many medications that are commonly prescribed to older adults cause dry mouth and dehydration. This poses problems for your body and your oral health. Counteract it by increasing your water intake. Keep a water bottle handy at all times so you can drink water whenever you need it.
- Eat Well. Live Well. Check out the Canada Food Guide.
- Check out our Webinar: Zest for Life- Eating for Health and Vitality
A healthy diet is part of overall healthy living. Part of eating right is eliminating harmful substances from our lifestyles. Even if you’ve been smoking for years, you can still benefit by stopping today. Research shows that when you quit smoking, you lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
Limiting or discontinuing alcohol consumption is another effective way to improve your overall health. Lower your risk for chronic diseases by cutting harmful substances out of your life.
Minding Your Mental Health
Your mental health is an integral part of healthy aging. Did you know? Doing acts of kindness yourself is also likely to boost your happiness and your mental well-being.
What can you do to improve your mental well-being?
Fill your life with things that make you happy. Passions, hobbies, and friendships all add value to your day. We encourage you to try learning new things. By practicing cognitive tasks (like learning, critical thinking, and remembering), you can keep your mind sharp.
Visiting Your Doctor Regularly
The aging process looks different for everyone. Many older adults deal with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, vision loss, and heart disease. It’s important to monitor these conditions and be mindful of them each day. A health care provider can help you learn about what positive aging might look like for you.
Getting a Good NIght's Rest
Our sleep cycle changes as we age. But what if you’re consistently sleeping poorly?
According to public health research, poor sleep quality is sometimes linked to lifestyle changes (including mental health issues and social isolation). By embracing positive aging and making lasting changes to your lifestyle, you can get a night of deeper sleep.
Learning How To Age Actively
At Active Aging in Manitoba, we aim to promote positive aging. With our online resources, annual events, and programs, we work to help older adults with healthy aging in Manitoba.
Ready to embrace an active aging lifestyle? Contact AAIM today!