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Seven ways to age (almost) in reverse

September is Healthy Ageing Month and Elderwellness.net group is working hard to spread the word to seniors that you can still live life to the fullest in your golden years:

In the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the main character walked onto the Earth as an old man and grew into a young child over the course of many decades. And while his story is fiction, there are real life ways to stave off the effects of age.

For example, exercise is one of the best ways to embark on a path to healthy living. Golf is a great form of physical activity, or simply going for a walk is an excellent option, too.

Do you have a hobby? If not, taking one up is a perfect way to invest in your mental health. Hobbies like gardening, painting, music, and woodworking can do wonders for your wellbeing.

And here are some more tips for holding the ageing process at bay:

Get some shuteye

Sleep is important for people of all ages, but it often becomes more difficult as we age. If you’re not getting your recommended seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night, take a look at your bedroom. Has it been at least seven years since you replaced your mattress? If so, there’s a good chance that it’s worn out, causing you discomfort and leading to poor-quality sleep night after night. Is there a streetlamp brightening your room after hours? It’s time to invest in some blinds or blackout curtains to block out the light that could be messing with your circadian rhythm. If there aren’t any obvious culprits, speak with your doctor; they can provide you with alternative solutions and may have you tested for a sleep disorder.

Watch what you eat

As U.S. News & World Report explains, older adults should strive for a specific balance of nutrients, most of which can be derived from a plateful of colorful foods and a palm-sized serving of lean protein with each meal. That’s not to say that you can’t indulge in the occasional treat as long as you’re smart about your choices. Here are 10 healthy sweet snacks that are under 100 calories each.

Stay active

Older adults should walk at least 30 minutes each day. If walking is boring or difficult, other fun exercise options include line dancing and participating in sports. You can also use a bike or treadmill. It’s not just physical activity that matters, either. You need to keep your mind active by participating in hobbies you enjoy. This can be anything from reading to working puzzles to woodworking.

Drop the bad habits

If you’re a smoker or heavy drinker, there has never been a better time to quit than right now. Alcohol and cigarettes have a major impact on your health, and it’s not a good one. Smoking can lead to lung and throat cancer, and can leave you with a dry mouth and bad breath. When you quit drinking, your liver has the opportunity to function normally; you’ll likely begin to lose weight and sleep better.

Avoid accidents

The National Council for Ageing estimates that approximately 33 percent of seniors experience falling injuries. Even if your mobility is intact, other issues such as fainting from low blood pressure and misjudging a step can lead to a significant injury. You can’t avoid all accidents, but you can make your home a safer environment by eliminating clutter, removing cords that are in areas where you walk frequently, removing any rugs that may be trip hazards, and ensuring each room has adequate lighting.

Visit your doctor

You’ll greatly enhance your chances of remaining healthy if you visit your doctor regularly. There are a number of tests doctors should perform yearly for older adults. This includes a blood pressure check and a test for increased triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood. Dr. Deborah Sullivan and the HealthLine editorial team offer more information on health tests for seniors.

Stay social

Loneliness is an epidemic among older people, and it’s one that takes a toll on both mental and physical health. With age, it may become more difficult to access social situations, especially if you are no longer comfortable behind the wheel, but socialization is a vital part of healthy ageing. Community centres and volunteer opportunities are excellent for meeting other individuals that share common interests. By maintaining an active social life, you will stave off depression, increase your self-awareness and prolong your independence.

While no human can truly turn back time, you can make sure your age doesn’t stop you from enjoying all that life has to offer. A lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, lots of physical and social activity and prompt medical treatment when needed will help you do just that.

Karen Weeks is the creator ElderWellness.net, a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.

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