Does the thought of aging cause you angst?
Aging is an inevitable part of life but how you age will significantly impact your quality of life.
If you were to close your eyes and envision yourself 15 years from today, what do you see? Do you see yourself as being able and vibrant or needing assistance to go about your day-to-day activities?
It isn't possible to prevent every circumstance that could negatively impact your health and wellness, but you can take proactive steps to maintain vitality as you get older.
Here are 3 essential things you can do to embrace the journey of aging with confidence.
1. Prioritize Physical Activity
Don't underestimate the power of movement and exercise. It not only helps in managing your weight, it increases your bone and muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and improves your mental and emotional health by releasing those feel-good endorphins. If you've been sedentary, start by walking more and incorporating activities you enjoy - group fitness, swimming, dancing, gardening. For strength training, consider working with a fitness coach to help you with targeted goals. It's never too late to get active!
2. Nourish Your Body with a Balanced Diet
Yes, you are what you eat! If you drive a luxury car, you're going to fill it with premium gas - isn't your body so much more valuable? Focus on including more wholesome foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains) and reducing eating highly-processed foods and sugary snacks that can negatively impact your future health. Not sure what to eat? Working with a nutrition coach or registered dietician can help ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need for this stage in your life and to support your well-being as you age.
3. Cultivate Social Connections and Brain Health
Loneliness is a huge contributor to depression in aging populations. Stay connected with family and friends to reduce feelings of isolation that often get more pronounced as we get older. Get out and meet new people to share ideas and hold meaningful conversations.
Keep your mind agile and young by challenging it. Engage in puzzles, take continuing education classes or learn a new skill. Include mindfulness practices like yoga, meditation, and journaling to manage daily stressors or when life gets overwhelming.
You can't stop the clock but you can impact the quality of your later years by staying active, eating mindfully and focusing on continuously learning.
Here's to aging well and thriving at every stage of life!
What are you going to do today to prepare for your future self?
*Pat Greaves is NASM certified fitness trainer and Precision Nutrition coach who specializes in helping women over 40 become a healthier, fitter version of themselves.
Pat is also a contributor to Women's Health Magazine where she's been featured demonstrating strength training exercises. Pat has an upcoming article "The Best Exercise for Optimizing Longevity, According to a Trainer", coming soon to CNBC Make It.