Living Well

10 Health tips for improved quality of life

Who says aging has to hold you back from living life to the fullest? With seniors living longer today than in generations past, it’s important to focus on the quality of life especially if you’re in your 80s or even 90s.

Lydia Manning, Ph.D. and associate professor of gerontology at Concord University in Chicago, suggests these 10 tips for living your healthiest life today — and for the years ahead.

1. Avoid Isolation

People are emotionally hardwired for human connection. Without it, you become socially isolated, putting you at higher risk for chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and depression.

2. Get Up and Move

Exercising 30 to 45 minutes daily, at a minimum, can keep you in shape and reduce your risk of obesity and other chronic conditions.

3. Lift Weights

Doing simple, weight-bearing exercises improves mobility, strengthens muscle tone and joint flexibility, which reduces the risk of falls.

4. Tap Your Creativity

Find a hobby you love that gets your creative juices flowing — music, art, crafts, woodworking, etc. — and keep at it; you’ll build brain elasticity over time.

5. Eat Well

No brainer, right? Your metabolism slows down as you age, and it’s harder for your body to process certain types of foods so stick to whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

6. Cut Back on Alcohol

Not only is it harder for your body to process alcohol as you get older, but overindulging can contribute to depression and lead to chronic illnesses, such as liver disease.

7. Examine your faith.

Spirituality and mindfulness help keep you engaged and hopeful, strengthening your mental and emotional health.

8. Have a sense of humor.

Finding levity in any situation helps you become more resilient. As you get older, resilience will help you better manage major hardships and losses as you age.

9. Reduce risks.

If you plan to age in place, make sure your lighting is uniform throughout your home. Also, get rid of throw rugs that might cause tripping, and add safety rails, ramps or other modifications to your home for safety. Or consider a retirement community that can meet those needs for you.

10. Reach out.

Consider joining the YMCASilverSneakers or Matter of Balance program for fall prevention. In addition to exercise, you’ll connect with other seniors who are in a similar place in life. Having peer support is key to your overall emotional, physical and mental health.