Yoga in your eighties? Running your first marathon at 65? Do you think it’s too late to try something new? Think again.
Today's adults think, feel and behave five to 10 years younger than their actual age, and want to remain strong and healthy as they grow older.1 As they age, they're testing their bodies and minds in new ways. Last spring, more than 700 people over the age of 65 ran in the Boston Marathon, part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series. And, there were 11 runners who participated in the 80 and older category.
Living an active, full life isn't limited to physical endeavors. Many older adults are seeking out volunteer activities, learning a new language or turning to music to live more fully. And, they may be reaping health benefits as a byproduct of these new adventures.
For instance, scientists have demonstrated that learning a second language can help you maintain better cognitive function as you age. A study conducted at Emory University suggests that keeping the brain active through music may also reduce dementia.
So, what are you waiting for? Here are five tips to inspire healthy aging, no matter how old (or young) you are:
- Tap into your inner artist. Ever wish you had a creative outlet? This may be the right time to sign up for a painting class or learn to play the trumpet.
- Get moving. Not everyone is ready to run 26.2 miles in a marathon, but many of us would benefit from walking every day. It's ok to start small. Park your car further from a store's entrance or walk around the block with a friend. If you need more inspiration, consider investing in a pedometer to track your steps.
- Balance your diet. As people age, their bodies need more protein for muscle and overall health. You can add the recommended five to seven ounces of daily protein to your diet through a variety of lean foods like beans and nuts, fish, skinless chicken and eggs. Other high-nutrient foods include bright-colored vegetables (carrots and broccoli), deep-colored fruit (such as berries), and whole grains (like brown rice). At the same time, put down the salt shaker. This simple step can improve your cardiovascular health and lower your risk of stroke.
- Have a positive outlook. Smile often; it lightens your mood and can brighten the day of others around you. Results from a Swedish study demonstrated that when you smile, people treat you differently. And, more often than not, if you smile at someone, they'll smile back.
- Learn a new skill. Always wanted to juggle? Are you intimidated by your new smart phone? Sign up for a class that will help boost your confidence.
1. SilverPoll™ January 2009.