There are more people in their golden years than ever before. And their challenge now is to make their longer lifespans a more rewarding adventure. That being said, let’s look at some of the ways by which folks can turn their golden years into a time of glowing good health and all that comes with it.
1. Get Moving: Walking is still the best—and cheapest—way to keep the body supple. Dancing is also helpful. And if you think you’re too old to do the jitterbug or disco the night away, do what other seniors are doing: sign up for tango lessons. It not only gets the blood pumping, it’s also fun and sexy, especially with the right partner in your arms.
2. Join a Gym: If money is a problem, look for gyms that offer senior discounts, which may be available at slower periods during the day. A number of senior centers may also have low-price gym facilities. Also, besides providing exercise classes, pools and workout amenities, gyms offer an opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships. Surveys have shown that those who have a lot of friends tend to be more resistant to the aging process. Apparently, as social creatures, being with others in a friendly as well as stimulating setting strengthens our immune systems against all those nasty free radicals that cause our cells to age prematurely.
3. Troupes and Groups: Widen your social circle in other ways. Join an amateur dramatic society and volunteer to do everything, including building sets and hanging lights, as well as performing. Go to lectures and speak up when the floor is open to questions and opinions. Join discussion groups. Take courses in subjects that interest you.
4. Nip and Tuck: If you’re considering plastic surgery, make “less is more” your mantra: Most responsible plastic surgeons will advise you have the minimum done. The idea is to look like yourself, but better. Don’t demand so much work that people will wonder where your surgeon hid the little knot of skin after pulling your sagging epidermis up over your face.
5. Food Fads and Frauds: Food fads come and go and often leave a lot of disappointed (and sometimes seriously ill) people in their wake. Avoid fads, including the current high-fat, low-carb craze. They inevitably turn out to be just one more footnote in the long, failed history of such diets.
6. Antioxidant Supplements: Betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and other supplements may help deter premature aging because they prevent free radicals (a type of oxygen molecule) from destroying body cells. But be careful: There are fraudulent supplements masquerading as “natural” anti-aging herbals. Many of them won’t delay the aging process. Many more containing unproven ingredients could even speed it up. Always check with your doctor before using any supplement. This is especially true for people with conditions such as diabetes, renal disease, heart problems, etc. who require medically regulated diets.