Good habits are key to continue living full and satisfying lives as boomers approach their sunset years. Today’s article shares 13 good habits baby boomers need to age gracefully.
In this article:
- How to Age Gracefully
- Your Mind: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
- Your Body: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
- Your Food: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
Good Habits: 13 Healthy Aging Tips for Baby Boomers
How to Age Gracefully
Your ability to age gracefully and live your sunset years to the fullest covers three important areas: your mind, body, and diet. Here’s a list of habits you can develop for these three areas to help you age gracefully.
Your Mind: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
The Japanese have a philosophy called “Kaizen” which has made them one of the world’s most accomplished nations in history.
The word “kaizen” means “improvement,” with the Kaizen philosophy being about continuous improvement and never resting on one’s laurels.
By developing the habit of continuously improving on your habits, even by just a fraction each time, you can continue living a productive and fulfilling life well into your retirement years.
2. Always Be Learning
One of the most important applications of Kaizen in improving the mind is continuous learning.
Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. It’s a lifelong endeavor.
Whether it’s reading books or articles, enrolling in seminars and classes, engaging in stimulating conversations, or watching video courses or YouTube instructional videos, the point is to never stop learning something new.
And why should you develop the habit of always learning new things?
It can help reduce your risks for degenerative mental conditions, like dementia, later on. Also, a very important component of a full and satisfying life is a fully-functioning mind.
3. Exercise Your Brain in Fun and Creative Ways
Playing games like chess, games of the generals, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, and even poker provides two key benefits.
- Enjoyment– A full life is one where a person experiences enjoyment on a regular basis, which games like these can provide.
- It helps the mind focus and stay sharp. Like physical muscles, the brain is a mental muscle that stays fit with regular exercise and atrophies when used sparingly.
When you meditate, you can continue having a clear, focused, peaceful, and powerful mind even in old age. Studies have established the powerful mental and physical benefits of meditation.
There are different ways to meditate, with the most common way being “breathing meditation.”
You can do breathing meditation daily for just 10 to 15 minutes and experience its mind enhancing benefits. One of the simplest ways to meditate daily is best-selling author Mark Divine’s box-breathing technique, which he taught in his book The Way of the SEAL.
To do it, take a slow deep breath through the nose for five seconds and hold it for five seconds. Then, exhale everything through the nose for five seconds and hold for another five seconds to complete a breath cycle.
Complete as many breath cycles in 10 minutes at least once a day. Don’t worry about random thoughts that run in your head and focus on counting your breath instead.
With consistent practice, you eventually experience more peace, exercise greater control over your thoughts, and focus better for longer.
5. Cultivate Strong Relationships
With the exception of a few, relationships are like gardens that require proactive cultivation to stay lush and beautiful. It takes work to keep relationships intimate and thriving.
This doesn’t mean you should go on nightly meetups with friends. It means regularly keeping in touch, catching up, and being involved in the lives of those important to us.
This can be as simple as regular phone calls or video chats and meeting up with friends once or twice a month to catch up and talk. It doesn’t require anything big or fancy.
6. Work on Passion Projects
Passion projects can put more spark in your life and set it on fire, even as you approach and live out your sunset years.
Many people who retire to sedentary lives tend to “age” and deteriorate faster. On the other hand, those who continue doing things that give them a sense of purpose age much more gracefully.
It could be as simple as volunteering in a soup kitchen every week or in your local congregation. It could also be helping NGOs like Habitat for Humanity build homes for poor people.
Your Body: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
7. Go for Regular Medical Checkups
As a baby boomer, you already clocked in a lot of mileage on your body. Unfortunately, you can’t trade it in for a new one like you would a car.
At your age, your body’s not as pristine as it once was, which means it needs more frequent maintenance to keep it in good condition. For this, you should develop the habit of going for regular medical checkups.
As they say, prevention is much better than cure. Regular checkups help you stay one step ahead of potential age-related health problems.
8. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly helps keep your body strong, mobile, and flexible for as long as possible, especially as you age. A weak, inflexible, and limited-mobility body can make your sunset years more of a living hell than heaven.
You don’t need to train as hard or as long as you once did during your younger years. And if you’ve never exercised regularly, it’s never too late to start.
There are three kinds of regular exercises you should start or continue doing, as the case may be. These are strength-training, cardiovascular, and flexibility exercises.
- Strength-training exercises help you keep your body physically strong and enable you to do many things even as you age. These include lifting weights at the gym or doing bodyweight exercises using the TRX suspension trainer at home.
- Cardiovascular exercises help keep your heart and lungs strong and healthy. These include brisk walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, or using an elliptical trainer or Stairmaster machine at the gym.
- Flexibility exercises, as the name suggests, help you develop or maintain your muscles flexibility. These can help minimize your risks for muscle tears or joint injuries due to very limited ranges of motion. Flexibility exercises include basic stretching exercises and yoga.
9. Use the Right Equipment
Using the right equipment can help minimize your risks for exercise-related injuries. For example, using the wrong shoes for a specific activity can increase your risks for injury.
If you play basketball in a pair of running shoes, you’re at prime risk for ankle sprains or fractures because they don’t provide enough stability. If you run or walk on a trail using a pair of Chuck Taylors, ankle injuries and slipping can happen.
10. Lose Weight
If you exercise regularly and watch your diet, you can lose weight and lower your risks for diabetes and heart disease.
Just make sure to lose weight at a safe and healthy pace, which is two pounds per week at most. Losing more weekly runs you the risk of losing more muscle mass than body fat.
11. Get Enough Quality Sleep Every Night
To consistently get a good night’s sleep, you need to break bad habits. These include watching or surfing the net on electronic devices before sleeping and drinking coffee late in the afternoon.
Develop good habits instead, like limiting caffeine intake to before 3:00 pm and turning off gadgets after dinner, to consistently enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Your Food: Good Habits for Aging Gracefully
12. Focus on Whole Foods
Compared to highly-processed foods, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, eggs, and unprocessed meats, can help you stay healthy and strong as you age. They don’t contain as many calories as highly-processed foods, aren’t filled with harmful ingredients, and are generally more filling.
Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are also chock full of natural antioxidants and dietary fiber. Antioxidants can help minimize your cancer risks and dietary fiber can optimize your gut’s health.
13. Eat More Protein
Protein helps build and maintain muscle mass, which can minimize, prevent or even reverse sarcopenia, or the significant loss of muscle mass.
The best sources of protein include chicken breast and egg whites, both of which have very little or no fat. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, legumes and tofu are two of the best plant-based sources.
If you develop good habits now, you can maximize your ability to live a full and satisfying life during your sunset years. It’s never too late to start.
Do you have other good habits for baby boomers to help them continue living a great life during their retirement years? Let us know in the comments section below.
- 7 Healthy Habits To Adopt In Your Daily Life
- How To Break These 8 Bad Habits And Succeed In Life
- How To Write A Personal Manifesto (Step by Step)