Healthy aging is typically defined as maintaining low risks of health issues, improving overall well-being and living a fulfilling life. While there’s no single path to reaching this goal, adopting healthier habits during your lifespan such as eating balanced diets, staying physically active, managing mental/cognitive health needs and building social connections may all help contribute.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three main elements of healthy aging include physical, mental, and social well-being. Physical well-being includes factors like preventing chronic diseases as well as managing any related changes such as decreased muscle mass.
Mental/cognitive components of healthy aging encompass maintaining positive self-perceived and social wellbeing as well as adapting to change and loss. Spiritual aspects also reflect more transcendent perspectives on aging.
Diet is an essential factor of wellbeing for older adults, as consuming enough calories will meet energy requirements while simultaneously decreasing risk factors such as high blood pressure and excess weight gain. According to WHO recommendations, older adults should eat nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins for optimal health benefits. Reducing salty or sugary foods as well as saturated fats and added sugars can also help lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health and decrease their risk for type 2 diabetes.
Regular physical activity can help protect against, delay, or manage certain chronic diseases and maintain bone and muscle health. Exercise also improves balance and stamina while decreasing risks of falls and supporting brain health.