Active aging isn’t just about retirement at the golf course instead of on the couch. Wellness is engaging actively in all aspects of healthy living as you age. Be inspired by scientific evidence showing how being physically active, socially connected, and eating healthy helps adults live longer, healthier lives.
Research shows several factors contribute to aging well:
Being social is healthy and may be one of the most overlooked aspects of healthy active aging. Evidence shows a lack of social connections is an indicator of premature mortality. improving quality of life and reducing loneliness.
It may be possible to mitigate Alzheimer’s disease risk with healthy lifestyle behaviours, notes experts on mounting research evidence. One study noted a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease among aging adults who included four to five of these healthy lifestyle factors:
Regular physical activity is essential for human health. Being active helps maintain a healthy body weight and prevents or delays some age-related diseases. Plus, we all have to admit to feeling great after “busting a move”, “getting your stride on”, or whatever physical activity you favour. Endorphins can be thanked for those uplifting feelings. Endorphins are released in your body when you exercise and they act like morphine, reducing pain and causing a feeling of euphoria. Plus, other health benefits of moving your body include increased oxygen from deep breathing, improved circulation for toxin clearing, and brain stimulation.
Yes, research has found that including physical activity in your lifestyle may lead to a longer, healthier life. According to a study of over 27,000 people, living longer is possible by being active daily. Walking for more than 1 hour a day was associated with living longer than being inactive. Researchers also found a connection between active aging and lower medical expenditure.
Becoming active can be beneficial to your health and improve how well you age. A large British study showed staying active as we age leads to more successful aging. After 8 years, the researchers found participants who reported moderate daily activity were 3.1 times more likely to be healthy agers. Improvements were also seen among those who became active as they aged.
Only 1 in 5 adults, and older adult Canadians, achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, based on the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and World Health Organization. Are you moving enough?
Living longer is possible when you are physically active and may come with an added benefit – more youthful-looking skin. Researchers at McMaster University discovered that youthful-looking skin is more likely among individuals ages 40+ individuals who exercise regularly. In fact, among those who exercised regularly, their skin was closer to the composition of a 20 and 30-year-old.
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Active aging in very old age and the relevance of psychological aspects. Front Med 2017 Oct 30.
Impact of walking on life expectancy and lifetime medical expenditure: the Ohsaki Cohort Study. BMJ Open 2011;1.
Taking up physical activity in later life and healthy aging: the English longitudinal study of ageing. Br J Sports Med 2014 Feb; 48(3):239-43.
Approaches to enhance soil connection in older adults: an integrative review of literature. Aging Health Res 2021 Sept; 1(3):100029.
Contributed by Allison Tannis
Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s articles and books are read around the world by those curious about where to find the most delicious (and nutritious) places to stick their forks. More at allisontannis.com. Follow @deliciouslygeeky.