After working in the emergency room for 23 years, the health and fitness field for 25 years, and life coaching for 15 years, I have had plenty of opportunity to work with people who were not aging so gracefully.
Today, 60,000 baby boomers turn 60 every day. Wow! We are the largest percentage of the population and continue to live longer. I just want us to continue to live stronger as well. With that in mind, here are my top 10 ways to age gracefully (from the inside out):
Nothing new about exercising to maintain a healthy weight, elevate mood, and improve your overall well-being and energy. I used to work out to fit into my skinny jeans. Now I know exercise helps me maintain my bone density, muscular strength and endurance, and still helps me fit in my jeans! You don’t have to go to the gym to move. You can walk, take dancing lessons or ride your bike.
2. Practice Yoga
Of course you already know yoga has absolutely been life-changing for me. Not only have I gained a half-inch in height and increased my lean muscle mass and flexibility, but I have also adopted the yoga lifestyle that has changed my approach to life. With the daily meditation, deep breathing, and yoga poses in my 30 Days to Grace practice, I am more grounded, focused and centered, ready to move through my days with more intention.
3. Eat Anti-inflammatory
Countless studies show that chronic illnesses, especially auto-immune ones such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even depression, can be directly related to our diets. An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and processed foods. You can supplement what you can’t get enough of in your everyday diet.
We are a chronically under-rested culture! So many of my clients say they can “get by” on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. To thrive from the inside out, studies indicate most of us need closer to 8 or 9. Nothing makes me feel (and look) more graceful than a good night’s sleep.
As we age, connection is more important than ever. Relationships with our kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors and community are critical to nurture and maintain. It gets us out of ourselves, helps us remember what is most important, and keeps us stimulated and involved.
6. Meaningful Activity
Taking a course to learn something new, volunteering at a food bank, working on your family tree or providing a service to someone else all qualify as meaningful activity. As we age, we need a reason to get up in the morning – a good reason we can get excited and energized about.
Such a simple thing, but why is it so hard for some of us? Your body cannot always determine whether you are thirsty or hungry, so we often overeat when we really need more water. Everything also “moves” better when you drink at least half your weight in ounces of water a day.
8. Embrace Your Grace
I love the Dove commercials that show real, middle-aged, authentic women, without perfect airbrushed bodies and skin. Their beauty and grace illuminates from the inside out. Nothing is graceful about trying too hard to look young or hip.
9. Wear Sunscreen
And do all the other preventative measures like getting your blood work, colonoscopy and teeth checked out. Taking proactive measures to take care of ourselves has become so much easier with all the technology out there. And many healthcare providers are starting to support prevention with low co-pays or even for free.
In our 20s 30s, and 40s we had so much time to “get to it,” didn’t we? We could wait to settle down, plan for the future, etc. NOW is the time to plan for your future. It’s not too late, whether we’re talking about creating financial freedom or downsizing your home. Creating a plan can offer a sense of calm and intention for moving forward.
I don’t mean to sound like a nag about your food, sleep, relationships or your life! But since we’re all going to be around a while longer, I just want us ALL to age with grace. I would love to hear what you are doing to age gracefully from the inside out.