In the early 16th century, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon searched in what is now our great state of Florida for the mythical Fountain of Youth, proving that we have always sought ways to reverse the signs of aging. Even famous author Mark Twain was quoted as saying, “Life could be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”
Our nation’s aging population continues to grow, with the number of Americans age 65 and older increasing from 35 million in the year 2000 to over 49 million just 16 years later. With so many older adults living well past the age of 80, it’s no wonder so many people are still searching for their own Fountain of Youth.
The aging process is unique to each individual. However, it’s normal for your body to start undergoing certain changes the more candles there are on your birthday cake. You probably know that some of the common signs of aging are physical changes like wrinkles or gray hair, but changes to the body’s cells, tissues and organs affect the functioning of all bodily systems, too.
Additionally, your metabolism starts to slow down, and you might notice you aren’t as hungry as you used to be. This can make it difficult to get the proper amount of nutrients needed on a daily basis. Your muscle and bone mass also begin to decrease, making you more prone to falls and compromising your independence. Older adults, in general, face an array of chronic conditions throughout the aging process, like arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease and so on.
The good news is that there are ways to ensure you age as gracefully as possible. By making a few lifestyle adjustments sooner rather than later, you can remain healthy, independent, and enjoy the highest quality of life.
So, how can you reverse aging? A few ways to naturally slow the aging process include:
Exercise regularly. The benefits of exercise for seniors are numerous and include reducing the risk for chronic conditions, improving mental health, slowing cognitive decline, and even keeping your skin looking healthier as toxins get released while you work up a sweat. Find ways to exercise every day, whether you enjoy walking, swimming, or even doing some chair exercises.
Adjust your diet. Adopting a diet full of wholesome, nutritious and fresh foods helps keep your body functioning at optimal levels. Processed foods contain a variety of ingredients that can cause inflammation and a weakened immune system. This inflammation is the cause of a variety of chronic conditions and leads to a lack of energy.
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is an essential component in slowing the aging process. Water helps flush toxins from the body and keeps your joints well-lubricated. Additionally, when you don’t drink enough water, your skin looks dull and older. So, to keep that youthful glow, aim to drink at least two liters of water every day.
Get a good night’s sleep. Make sure to establish a nightly routine to allow yourself plenty of time to unwind and relax from your day so you can get the proper amount of sleep. Sleep allows your body time to repair and rejuvenate all its systems, and experts say just one less hour of sleep per night can increase cortisol levels tenfold, leading to oxidative stress and affecting the balance of your blood sugar levels. Plus, recently, studies have revealed poor sleeping habits have been linked to an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Manage your stress levels. It’s important to learn how to properly cope with the stress in your life. Just like a lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels, stress leads to higher cortisol levels, too. These high levels of cortisol can rob your body of essential minerals and lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, and even add more wrinkles to your skin.
Stay socially active. Laughter is the best medicine, as they say, and spending time with others can keep you feeling young and healthy. In fact, loneliness is known to increase stress hormones and can lead to a variety of health concerns like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Find ways to slow the aging process at Advent Christian Village. Located in north Florida along the beautiful Suwannee River, you’ll find countless enriching ways to spend your days, lowering your stress levels and enjoying quality time with others. We offer vibrant independent living options with a full continuum of care, so you’ll have peace of mind that your needs will be met — now and in the future. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour.