Adding life to years — not just years to life — is what it’s all about, according to David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and co-author of the book “Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth about What Makes Us Well.” “Aging well is preserving the capacity to live well,” says Katz, “right up to the end.”
Katz believes there are six lifestyle factors that help you stay well: feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress and love. In translation, they amount to: eating well, being active, not smoking, getting enough sleep, dissipating stress and sharing love.
Dr. Katz’s research aligns with Brookdale’s Optimum Life philosophy, with its six dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, purposeful, social, spiritual and intellectual. From the meals we prepare to the brain-stimulating, physically active and socially enriching programs we offer, the Optimum Life philosophy means we take a holistic approach to life at Brookdale.
Similar findings about living a long and healthy life continue to support the six elements of Optimum Life. In one study focusing on those who live to be 100 and older, Dr. Thomas Perls and other researchers from Boston University discovered that while genes play a role in living to be 100, lifestyle choices may factor into having healthy, fulfilling golden years.
As we age, physical activity may become a “use it or lose it” proposition. If you want to live a longer, better life, you’ll usually feel better the more you move. Exercising lowers blood pressure, prevent the loss of mobility, reduces the risk of falling and reduce anxiety and depression. It may even supports brain health.
But that’s not all. Being physically active may reduce arthritis pain by 40% and may help seniors recover more quickly from illness, injury or surgery. The CDC recommends that Americans, regardless of age, get 30 minutes of exercise every day, even if it’s broken up into 10-minute chunks.
Doing physical activities you love can help you pass the time more quickly, and just being outside may help you form new friendships and give you some much-needed vitamin D, courtesy of the sunshine.
Cardio has a ton of heart and brain benefits, but strength training may help you maintain activities of daily living. Start small with some simple isometric exercises like flexing and holding your muscles. Before you know it, you might be stronger than ever.
Are You Living an Optimum Life?
Dr. Perls has created a longevity calculator to help you find out. Go to livingto100.com to get your personalized results, then decide what lifestyle changes may add more life to your years. And remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are now — anyone can attempt to make a positive impact on their health and wellbeing by making some small changes.
The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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