22 Rules for Aging Brilliantly

We've found new ways to make sure you keep blossoming into an ever-better you.

Follow the Example of Your Elders

After years of studying older folks, a scientist tells us what it takes to age well.

Let the Music Play

Research by Harvard professor of psychology Ellen Langer, PhD, shows that experiencing a melodious blast from the past can help turn back time for our bodies. (In one of her groundbreaking studies, a group of men in their 70s and 80s became measurably stronger after a week of living like it was 1959, including listening to '50s hits.) "Music is a cue, and if you listened to a specific song at a time when you were more vital, hearing it now can make you feel the way you felt back then," says Langer. "The more we experience that vitality, the more we question whether we need to give it up as we get older." Time to take those old records off the shelf.
Emma Haak

Keep a Little Something for Yourself

I have an image in my head: I'm holding a small bowl in my two cupped hands and in it are 12 cranberry-sized, colorful glass beads. Those beads represent the energy I have for the day, by which I mean not the strength to walk four miles but the ability to tackle whatever comes my way. Every time we do anything that expends energy, we're giving away beads. If you use three beads to tussle with your child about what he wears to school, those beads won't be available as you go through your workday, your friend day, your daughter day. Now that I'm older, I recognize what I have to give. You cannot give away beads to everyone and not keep even one for yourself.
Elizabeth Alexander, 50, poet

Pass on What You've Learned

Whether we're in our 20s or much older, we all need to feel that we can share something of value with others—and this can mean different things to different people. Maybe you'd like to volunteer in a classroom or raise awareness about an environmental issue. Whatever you choose to do, having a chance to impart your knowledge solidifies your sense of self, affects how you perceive your place in the world, and helps you appreciate what you've learned over the years—all key components of aging well. Plus, research indicates that we may become more adept at recognizing and solving everyday problems as we get older, which is reason enough not to keep what you know under wraps. — Linda Fried, MD, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and cofounder of AARP Experience Corps, an organization that's placed thousands of adults 50 and older in elementary schools as tutors and mentors

Stay in the Game

On the track, I'm the last line of defense against the 18- to 20-year-olds on the other team. I'm on the floor with four other teammates—two of them together aren't as old as I am—and they always say, "If Sass can do it, I can do it." They don't know I work twice as hard as they do to keep up with them. That means skating six days a week and getting up before dawn to fit training into my schedule. I have to go the extra mile on the floor, too, even if I'll pay for it later. When I return to my everyday life, my shoulders are often so black-and-blue that I raise a few eyebrows. Even if I suffer bumps and bruises, though, the sport is so empowering. I'm constantly reminded what I can accomplish—and never to sell myself short.
Dani "Sassy" Lewis, 44, member of the Oly Rollers, 2012 USARS Roller Derby national champions

Think Like a Guy

In an excerpt from her new memoir, My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper, former pro volleyball player Gabrielle Reece takes a page from a male friend and says to hell with pining for her youth.