In recent years, an increasing amount of scientific evidence has supported the idea that people can do quite a lot on their own to lengthen their life span and to enhance the quality of life as they age.
The experts at St. Mary's of Michigan offer up five steps you can take every day that can promote healthy aging and boost longevity:
1. Eat healthy foods to help prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. In addition, maintain a healthy weight. To maintain a healthy weight, maintain strength and help prevent disease, eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and foods low in fat and cholesterol.
2. Exercise regularly to achieve better physical and mental health. There are numerous benefits of exercise. Regular, vigorous exercise -- at least 30 minutes, three to five times a week -- improves mood and reduces depression; aids weight loss; increases strength, flexibility and balance; strengthens bones; and improves aerobic capacity (the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to deliver adequate oxygen to muscles).
3. Perform mentally stimulating activities to help preserve memory. These activities include reading, playing cards, doing crossword puzzles, and going to museums. Other mentally challenging activities include learning to play an instrument, changing careers or starting one, trying a new hobby, and volunteering.
4. Get preventive health care tests and screenings to catch disease early. Have screenings and other preventive health care tests that are recommended for your age group or disease risk category. Be proactive with doctors and pharmacists by bringing a list of questions or concerns to every visit and not hesitating to speak up or ask questions.
5. Maintain a positive attitude and cultivate relationships to be happier and live longer. Write down all the good things in life. Focus on being satisfied with life as it is. A positive attitude, adaptability, strong social contacts, and religious and cultural convictions all contribute to happiness as people age.