Celebrate Longevity During Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual observance month focused on the positive aspects of growing older and taking personal responsibility for one’s health – physically, socially, mentally and financially. The observance was created 15 years ago by Healthy Aging®, a national health initiative developed to help individuals think more positively about growing older. I believe that each and every day, no matter what our age, we should be focused on healthy aging and achieving productive longevity. There is no instantaneous way to live a longer more productive life, so the time to start thinking about your well-being is now. Ultimately, the key to happiness as aging progresses is to physically feel good.

Remember, you do not have to surrender to old age.  It’s possible to maintain your strength and flexibility as you grow older.  “Getting old” in the sense of slowing down, becoming feeble and giving up being active is a decision that you make mentally.  The physical changes and limitations that people experience as old age is just their bodies following the mental command and responding to the lack of use.  All you really need is motivation and confidence to keep going. I have found the best way to stay productive as you age is through movement, diet and mindset.

The more active you are as you get older, the more active you tend to stay.  Staying active becomes a habit, and you can cultivate that habit to make activity a seamless and continuous part of your life. Simply going for a long walk or jog is a great start; however, in order to really see results, you need to incorporate all three main types of exercise into your routine: cardio, stretching and weight training.

Maintaining an optimal healthy diet is vital for healthy aging. According to Dr. Lori Magoulas, a registered dietitian and medical nutrition therapist, “Nutrition can affect longevity because what we eat can have both direct and indirect effects on how the body functions.  Through these effects, longevity can be altered.” During an interview that I had with Dr. Magoulas, which can be found in my book “The Real Fountain of Youth: Simple Lifestyle Changes for Productive Longevity” she further explains the benefits of proper nutrition and how it can protect the body as it ages.

The better we eat, the better our body functions. There are five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy. ChooseMyPlate.gov illustrates specific foods that are in each food group and explains how much of each group should be consumed. You may find this to be a useful resource for maintaining an optimal healthy diet.

In my opinion, your outlook on your health and longevity may possibly be the most important aspect of healthy aging. As I’ve said before, there is no instantaneous way to live a longer more productive life.  There really is no medication, supplement or device out there that will deliver a lasting, permanent change.  Over time, you will see results if you keep exercise and nutrition an important part of your life. Keep your mind focused on achieving productive longevity and eventually you will see that you probably feel better than you have in years. It will take work to become healthier and more active, but keep a positive attitude. Focusing on how much better you feel each day, and reconnecting to the world around you can be very motivating.

Focus on healthy aging every day and you will live a long, prosperous life. To remain healthy as you age, it really all comes down to those three things: movement, diet and mindset.  Stay active, maintain a healthy diet and think positive, and you will see that it is possible to avoid “getting old.”