By The LLuminari Experts
July 09, 2008
What is aging today when 50 is now midlife? In reality we begin to age from the day we are born, but most of us don’t consider ourselves old until we reach a certain milestone—such as 20, 30, 40, or some later decade birthday. We may feel older when we are faced with some health challenge, such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis, or maybe we don’t even notice the passing years until one day we look in the mirror and ask who is looking back at us. Regardless of our definition of aging, the good news is that we can do a lot in order to age gracefully.
To begin, we can start to take individual responsibility. We can respect our bodies by caring for our hearts, lungs, minds, bodies and spirits. We can care for our teeth, skin, hair, hands and feet. We can watch our weight and eat healthy food. We can challenge our minds and nurture our souls. We can make an enormous difference in the quality of our lives by doing just a few things to improve our overall health.
Diet Eat a well-balanced diet, choose foods high in fiber, and drink eight glasses of water a day.
Exercise Exercise helps lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Exercise strengthens your lungs, heart and bones. It keeps joints flexible, keeps muscles strong, gives more energy, reduces stress, anxiety and depression and improves balance.
Retirement, death of friends and family, chronic illness, loneliness and financial concerns can trigger depression. You may need to be treated with medication, counseling or other support. Talk to people you can trust.
Injury If an injury or fall should occur, it should be evaluated and treated promptly.
See Your Doctor Women as they age should continue to get yearly checkups and let their doctors know all the medications, vitamins and natural remedies that they are taking. Cigarettes If you smoke, quit.
Protect Your Skin Take preventive measures to protect your skin by limiting sun exposure, using sunscreen, hats and protective clothing, and avoiding sun beds and tanning salons.
Your Brain Health The brain works in the same way as the heart—when blood and oxygen can't pass through our arteries to our brain, it can't function properly. So avoid fried, artery clogging foods.
Folate Make sure to get your folate. Found in asparagus, artichokes, Brussels sprouts and sunflower seeds, folate is an anti-aging weapon for your brain. Another "in the news" age fighter is coenzyme Q10 because it stimulates energy pathways in your brain tissue.
Stay Active The physically active population has a better chance of being more functional with aging. Determine what types of physical activities are best for your situation—for instance, if you have arthritis consider swimming—and do it regularly.
Printed from Oprah.com on Saturday, December 7, 2013