September 1, 2022
September is Healthy Aging Month, and it’s a great time to focus on putting your health front and center today, tomorrow and in the future. Many different things affect healthy aging, but maintaining health and wellness throughout your life doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s important to remember that health isn’t just physical; we must care for all aspects of ourselves to enjoy true well-being.
Here are seven ways to help manage your health from a holistic point of view:
- Physical: Physical health is probably what most people think of when they consider “healthy aging.” There are many ways we can maintain our physical health. Make sure you move your body daily, even if it’s just a casual walk. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get a good night’s sleep. Of course, regular visits with your doctor are important, too! They help you stay aware of your risk factors for various health conditions. Remember, knowledge is power.
- Emotional: Social isolation, loneliness, stress and depression can all seriously affect health. In fact, older adults who are socially isolated or lonely are at a higher risk for heart disease, depression and cognitive decline.* Make an effort to stay connected with friends, neighbors and family. You can schedule time to connect with others or take a class at a community center to boost your mood and improve your overall well-being.
- Intellectual: Your brain is like a muscle; use it to keep it in good health! Learning something new or participating in a hobby you love is a great way to take care of your intellectual wellness. Studies even show that older adults who spend at least an hour reading or engaged in other hobbies had a decreased risk of dementia compared to those who spent less than 30 minutes per day on hobbies.**
- Occupational: Even if you’re retired, finding satisfaction or meaning through work is still important. Exploring volunteer or service opportunities in your community is one way to find meaning through work, leading to better occupational wellness.
- Social: Not only is spending time with family and friends enjoyable, but it can also affect your physical health! One study found that older adults who had regular contact with friends and family were more physically active than those who didn’t. Consider inviting a friend or neighbor for a walk in the park, a visit to a museum or a shopping trip.
- Environmental: Did you know that being in nature can boost our well-being? Try to find time to make your surroundings more enjoyable. Keeping our homes pleasant, taking a walk outside or simply enjoying some morning sunshine can make a difference.
- Spiritual: Spiritual health can mean different things for different people. For some, it’s praying at their place of worship. For others, it may be establishing a regular meditation practice or journaling to keep in touch with their inner self. Whatever it means to you, connecting with your spirit is one of the many ways you can foster wellness as you grow older.
Whatever you do to take care of your health as you age, remember that wellness is a lifelong journey. Check out some of our resources for some classes and programs that might fit in well with your personal healthy aging journey.