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How to Age Gracefully!

If we were to believe what we see in the movies and on TV, life practically ends after the age of 30. The truth is that our global population is aging. It is predicted that by 2035, 1 in 5 people will be 65-years of age or older. Most people have expectations of being able to maintain mobility, be injury and illness free, and staying in their homes until the ripe old age of 100. Below are some steps that can be taken to ensure this is a reality.

Tip 1: Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important health-protecting behaviors for anyone. Moreover, chronic sleeplessness can lead to mental health issues including depression and physical issues, including chronic disease. If sleep is a challenge, try a warm bath or shower and make sure your room is dark.

Tip 2: Stretch
Flexibility can be increased at any age, any place and at any time. Don't have time to stretch? Think stretching is boring and unnecessary? Try turning on a favorite TV show or movie and stretching in front of it. All it takes is a few minutes a day to see gains in muscle length and mobility.

Tip 3: Get Moving
Physical activity can reverse many age-related changes. A daily walk can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, increase lung capacity, and strengthen the immune system to help reduce the number of colds and flus we get per year. It can also help with depression.

Tip 4: Healthy Nutrition
Research strongly suggests a positive relationship between healthy nutrition and a healthy aging process. A healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, and legumes to get all the anti-oxidants we need to reduce the cellular effects of aging.

Tip 5: Reduce Sugar
The average American consumes 150 - 170-pounds of sugar each year. Simply eating less sugar should help decrease the sugar intake but, unfortunately, sugar is now found in the most unlikely places. From sauces and ketchup to yogurt and packaged meats, always check the sugar content in food.

Tip 6: Practice Injury Reduction
Wearing a seatbelt while driving and a helmet while biking reduces chances of injury. But injury reduction goes beyond that as we move into the middle age years. Exercises like balancing and core stability and maintaining flexible muscles help with injury reduction. Movement and mobility at 80-years old is much different than it is at 40. The key to keeping as mobile and pain free as possible in the older years is to pay attention to those exercises that keep you limber and stable.

Tip 7: You're not as Young as You Feel
When getting back to exercise, it is important to start at the beginning, working your way to increases in strength, stamina, and ability.

Tip 8: Exercise is Not a Weight Loss Tool
As you age, exercise becomes a means to stay healthy, not lose weight. Unfortunately, burning more calories than you take in at an older age is not the normal. But exercise is still very important in keeping your body fit and mobile.

Tip 9: Accept that Aging is Inevitable
It doesn't seem fair that as wisdom comes with age so does wrinkles, incontinence, and hair loss. Acceptance is the key to healthy and happy aging. A famous Anonymous quote once stated, "Youth is an act of nature; age is a work of art".

Tip 10: Practice Gratitude
It's easy to get mired down in the negative thoughts of the aging process. It is probably not uncommon to peer into the morning mirror and wonder who is looking back. It is at this time that practicing gratitude is the most important thing to help shift focus on the positive things in lives.
Aging is inevitable but doesn't mean life is over. Go out, stay active, eat healthy, and get exercise. And if you don't feel like any of the above tips work, or you experience any health issues, please contact your local physician or call Sabetha Family Practice at (785) 284-2141 to make an appointment.

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