6 Tips for Aging Gracefully

September is Healthy Aging Month, a time to celebrate the process of growing older and focus on practices that can improve seniors’ physical and mental health.

More than one-third of Arizona residents are over the age of 50, and according to the World Health Organization, the aging population worldwide continues to steadily increase.

Below are six tips to help you age gracefully:

Restore hormone balance. As we age, our hormone levels fluctuate—women commonly face a decrease in estrogen and progesterone production, and while less pronounced, men gradually experience a decline in testosterone. Hormone imbalance can lead to a variety of issues, including fatigue, weight gain, bone density loss and a decline in skin elasticity. A supplement with nutrients such as maitake mushroom, vitamin E, selenium and zinc can help balance hormones and improve skin and glandular tissue health. Additionally, topical creams are available to help restore progesterone production in women.

Eat healthy fats. Not all fatty foods are created equal. Cut back on trans fats, found in fried foods and baked goods and saturated fats, found in fatty cuts of meat and high-fat dairy; these fats can increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Instead, take a hint from the Mediterranean diet and incorporate plenty of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. These healthy fats are found in foods like fish, olive oil, nuts and avocado and they can help lower blood pressure, fight Alzheimer’s disease and improve bone health.

Stay active. Once you’ve reached your golden years, you’ll hopefully have more time on your hands for activities you’ve been too busy for in the past. Now is the time to experience new things: travel, volunteer, take classes, learn a new skill or try a new sport. The Dallas Lifespan Brain Study found that having a busy schedule was associated with improved memory and better brain processing.

Halt muscle loss. Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of the aging process. When a person reaches the age of 30, lean muscle mass usually starts to decrease by about 3-5% every 10 years. A protein-digesting enzyme can help by breaking down protein into amino acids that are absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids are critical building blocks that the body can use to resynthesize muscle.

Give up bad habits. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and overeating junk food are all common behaviors you may have picked up earlier in life that can cause serious damage to your lungs, heart, liver, digestive system and more. It’s not too late to break these habits in order to improve your health. Identify your triggers, enlist someone to keep you accountable and replace your bad habit(s) with a healthier one. If you have a serious addiction, seek professional help.

Change your mindset. In today’s society, there can be a negative stigma associated with growing old, but we must reframe how we view old age. Age is just a number and there are many positive and rewarding aspects of growing older. As we age, we gain more stability, empathy, wisdom and self-confidence. A Yale study found that those with an optimistic view of growing older lived seven years longer than those who felt negatively about it.

Let’s all make an extra effort this month and beyond to adopt healthy behaviors and attitudes. We all age, but it is possible to age gracefully and live a longer and fuller life. Our loved ones will thank us.

Justin Marsh is the CEO of Arthur Andrew Medical, a Scottsdale-based manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic based dietary supplements. Arthur Andrew Medical’s products are rooted in science with no processing agents or fillers. They are dedicated to conducting extensive research and clinical applications with dietary supplements for the advancement of natural health alternatives.