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Whether you're 15, 35, or 75 years old, newsflash... you are aging!
Might as well take control and decide how you want to age.
It's never too early to start to think about aging, and if you aren't happy with how you're aging it's never too late to start.
At our clinic, we've had the pleasure of working with adults all the way up to 102 years old who report their quality of life as very high. And that is because their daily habits support their longevity. So... we've been keeping track of what these habits are so we can help others do the same.
There are an infinite amount of actions you can take to age gracefully, but we listed out the action steps that will give the greatest impact for the effort put in.
We probably sound like broken records, because we've talked pretty extensively about the power of mindset in previous blog posts... but there is plenty of good reason for it.
Your mindset about aging can make or break your future.
Research has shown that older adults who were shown positive words associated with aging performed better on physical tests and measures than those who were shown negative words, all else being equal.
The physical actions you take are important, but your mindset is what sets you up to take the right actions in the first place.
We've found daily gratitude journals and meditation practices are a great start. And better yet... are completely free and easy enough to start today!
In our years in the clinic, we've had the pleasure of working with adults in their 80's and 90's who live a very full life and easily perform the activities they want to be doing. The commonality between all of them?
A daily walking habit.
It doesn't matter how much walking you start with. Even if it's just an extra walk around your house, yard, or around the block, just start somewhere. Make this a habit and see if you can continue to add a little more distance daily.
Make it fun and find yourself a walking partner. You can even do weekly challenges to see who can out-step the other!
Another commonality we've noticed among adults who age well?
They've developed a strong mind-body connection and sense of self-awareness. By paying attention to subtle cues, you can detect the early warning signs of changes in your health before they get out of hand.
Start developing a sense of awareness by asking yourself questions throughout the day. For example, "After I go for a walk, how do I feel?", "How do I feel after sitting for a prolonged amount of time?", "Am I getting enough quality sleep at night?"....
Developing this habit of question-asking can help you start to age better right now. When you come up with answers to your questions, work to change what you think needs to change. Then check in with the same questions again.
Sounds like a odd recommendation... but your shoe choices and foot mobility can have a huge impact on how you age.
Imagine spending your life wearing mittens on your hands. You likely wouldn't have much dexterity, wouldn't be able to perform most of your daily activities, and would feel very stiff.
Sounds ridiculous, right? But this is exactly what we've done to our feet by spending our lives in shoes.
Fun fact: your feet should have the same dexterity of your hands! Starting to work on foot mobility can improve your balance, core strength, bone density... the list goes on. In terms of effort put in, your feet are your foundation and are an excellent place to start!
Another common factor among older adults who age well is a daily habit of getting on and off the floor.
Research has found that the inability to get on and off the floor without using your hands is one of the strongest physical predictors of early disability and death!
Your floor is a completely free piece of exercise equipment that's available to you at any time. Make a habit of sitting on your floor instead of the couch or chairs.
The ability to get on and off the floor is an indicator of overall body strength and flexibility. Research has also found that older adults who feel confident with their ability to get off the floor and practice often are actually less likely to fall.
So... what are you waiting for? Pick one of the above habits to get started on today and let us know how it goes!