Healthy Aging

By September 14, 2023Uncategorized

September is Healthy Aging Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to promote ways that people can stay healthy as they age. There are many factors that influence healthy aging. Let’s talk more about what we know about healthy aging.

What is healthy aging?
The Pan American Health Organization defines healthy aging as a continuous process of optimizing opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life throughout the life course.
Healthy AgingA simple way to think about it is that healthy living equates to healthy aging. The healthy living habits that you develop and maintain throughout your life contribute to the ability to thrive later in life. They contribute to greater resilience relating to illness and hardships in life.
What influences healthy aging? What can we do about these factors?
There are many factors that influence healthy aging, including:
Genetic factors –
  • We can’t do much about genetic factors, although knowing your family history and sharing that information with your doctor is an important aspect of healthy aging.
  • Regular exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle –
  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Or get at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Do this throughout life.
  • Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week, throughout life. One set of each exercise is enough for health and fitness benefits.
  • Continue to participate in activities throughout life that maintain flexibility, such as sitting on the floor, squatting, bending, stretching, Yoga, gardening, etc.
Healthy food choices –
  • Most of each meal should be vegetables and fruits – They should take up half of your plate.
  • Choose whole grains to take up one fourth of your plate.
  • Choose healthy proteins for one fourth of your plate, such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. Limit red meat and avoid processed meats.
  • Limit salt intake.
Healthy sleep habits –
Regular medical check-ups –
  • See your doctor regularly and follow recommended medical screening guidelines, such as cancer screenings.
Take care of your mental health –
  • Mental wellness is essential to your overall health and quality of life.
  • Stay connected with friends and family and continue to meet new people.
  • Find ways to manage stress, such as meditation, physical activity, keeping a journal, etc.
  • Exercise your brain regularly by learning new skills, such as learning a new game, a musical instrument, or a new craft or hobby such as quilting, or maybe new computer software.
  • Be aware of symptoms that might indicate depression and seek treatment. Follow this link to learn more about depression and its symptoms: Depression and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging (
Quit smoking –
  • It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting smoking will improve your health.
Avoid alcohol and other substances –
  • Alcohol use is associated with multiple health problems.
  • Other substances can be both illicit drugs as well as misuse of prescription drugs.
If you have any questions about healthy aging, please log into your account and send us your question. We are here to help.

Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor

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