13 things you can do in 2016 for healthy aging

UCHealth Aspen Club
Dec. 15, 2015
an older person does yoga on a couch while a child does a headstand next to him
Photo: Getty Images.

1. Choose healthier foods. Make sure your diet includes plenty of whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy products and healthy fats.

2. See your health care provider regularly. Annual physicals help you detect and prevent illnesses and keep you abreast of preventative screenings.

3. Amp up your fitness. Exercise for youth is important, but as we age, it’s imperative. To keep moving … you have to keep moving.

4. Quit smoking and limit alcohol. Simply by quitting smoking you can reduce your risk of health problems as you age.

5. Get enough sleep. Poor sleep can lead to depression, cognitive problems and a lower quality of life. Get help if you have trouble sleeping.

6. Assess your home for safety. Falls are serious business as we age. Assess your home for hazards.

7. Learn something new. Learning new things helps keep your mind engaged and stimulated.

8. Challenge your cognition. Strengthen your brain however you can by challenging your mind.

9. Reach out if you feel depressed or anxious. If you experience irritability, excessive worry or loss in pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, it’s so important to reach out for help.

10. Practice yoga or tai chi. These gentle forms of exercise are great for balance, strength and flexibility, as well as for reducing stress and promoting mental tranquility.

11. Learn how to meditate. Meditation is one of the most effective non-drug approaches to stress reduction.

12. Laugh more. The mental and physical benefits of laughter are well researched. It also helps with stress relief, muscle relaxation and stimulates the heart and lungs.

13. Change how you think and talk about aging. All of us should make fewer “old people” jokes. These fuel aging stereotypes. Try to view aging more positively and realistically.

Be a positive role model for healthy aging and lead the way.

About the author

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.