Eric Pfeiffer has a few tried-and-true tips on successful aging. They’re pretty basic and, no doubt, you’ve heard most or all of them before. But don’t wait until your 70s to put them in action. The sooner, the better, he says.
Engage in vigorous exercise every day of your life. It will help you retain mobility, increase muscle tissue and tone, reduce body fat, strengthen bones, retain flexibility, help your heart and improve your mood.
Eat a heart-healthy diet. Pfeiffer suggests a Mediterranean-style diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish and little red meat, and it uses olive oil as the most important source of fat.
Avoid becoming overweight. And don’t just go by the number on the scale; reduce the proportion of your body weight that is fat and increase the proportion of muscle.
Do not smoke. If you are a smoker, don’t just cut down – stop. It’s never too late to benefit from quitting.
Use alcohol only in moderation. If you’ve never been a drinker, don’t start now. Those who drink to socialize should have just one drink no more than several times a week. “Having two martinis in your 60s, 70s or 80s is like having four martinis when you were younger,” Pfeiffer writes.
Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Can’t fall asleep? Pfeiffer’s tips include: be physical during the day, no caffeine after 1 p.m., wind down your day’s activities and worries several hours before sleep, go to bed at the same time every night, and do nothing in your bedroom except sleep (except sex).
Develop a mechanism of stress reduction that works for you. Listen to soothing music, meditate, try yoga or whatever you have learned that helps you.
Remain socially active and involved. Don’t isolate yourself; keep making friends. And continue to work on your relationships with your spouse, your children and your grandchildren.
Reduce risk-taking behaviors. Bones are more fragile. Balance is less secure, Vision and hearing impairments may contribute to your vulnerabilities. “Know yourself!” Pfeiffer writes.
Get vaccinated against the flu every year and against shingles and pneumococcal pneumonia once in your later years. Also keep your tetanus shot up, he advises.
Source: “Winning Strategies for Successful Aging”