Aging Gracefully

SimplyHome's Tip of the Month on How to Age Gracefully

M3 Insurance reports that you can change how you think, feel and act when you are older simply by changing how you think, feel and act now. Staying healthy, fit and active are the keys to successful aging.

Although the risk of disease and disability clearly increases with advancing age, poor health as a person ages is not a foregone conclusion. Much of the illness, disability and death associated with chronic disease are avoidable through known preventive measures. The secret to aging gracefully is to establish a healthy lifestyle early, and stick to it as you grow older.

Eat Right and Exercise

Good nutrition, including a diet that is low in saturated fat and contains five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, is vital to maintaining good health. Improving the diet of older adults could extend a productive life span and reduce the occurrence of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Regular exercise and physical activity are also important to health and longevity. Regular physical activity greatly reduces the risk of dying from heart disease, and decreases your risk for colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical activity also helps:

· Control weight

· Contribute to healthy bones, muscles and joints

· Relieve the pain of arthritis

· Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression

· Decrease the need for hospitalizations, physician visits and medications

Finally, physical activity does not need to be strenuous to be beneficial. People of all ages benefit from moderate physical activity. However, people tend to be less active as they age. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women do not engage in any physical activity. People who are normally sedentary and have lost a tremendous amount of muscle mass can gain it back, increasing strength.

Stop Smoking

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Cigarette smoking is responsible for one of every five deaths in the U.S., or more than 430,000 deaths each year. Tobacco use increases the risk for heart disease, cancer and stroke. Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages, regardless of smoking-related diseases.

Mind over Matter

Your mind plays an important role in your ability to age well and feel good when you are elderly. Being engaged and maintaining good social connections can help older individuals retain cognitive function. A healthy attitude can help aging as well:

· Maintain positive self-esteem

· Exert control or autonomy

· Develop quality relationships with others

· View life as meaningful

This month's "Tip of The Month" comes from the insurance and healthcare specialists at M3 Insurance.