How to Age Effectively — Tips for Longevity

  |   Aging, Health, Healthy Life Style, Living, Longevity, Mental Health, Science   |   No comment


How do you approach aging? Do you greet each birthday with a smile? Are you afraid of becoming a senior citizen? Maybe you don’t think about it at all. Old age is a long way off.

No matter how old you are, it’s never too early to start preparing for your future. In this article, we’ll review some simple ways to keep you healthy as you age. We’ll also discover that you don’t need to be afraid of getting older. In many ways, the best is yet to come.


We’re going to start with an easy one.

A genuine smile can light up the room. It can also help you stay healthy in old age.

In Better With Age, Alan Castel discusses a study where researchers reviewed old baseball cards. They then divided the players into three categories:

The researchers then went back to see how long each of the players lived. The men who had no smiles lived to be an average of 72 years old. The half smilers made it to 75. The players with full, genuine smiles lived to be 80.

Of course, smiling might not cause a longer life, but expressing happiness and having a positive attitude are correlated with longevity.


There are few activities more important than physical exercise. Getting the blood flowing can help prevent a wide range of diseases, keep you at a healthy weight, and reduce stress.

Starting at around 50 years old, a part of the brain called the hippocampus starts to shrink. The hippocampus’s main job is to help with memory formation. A declining hippocampus is also associated with declining executive function and depression.

Walking just three times a day can help prevent mental decline. For bonus points, walk with someone else and make it social!


In one study, one group of elderly adults was assigned to walk 40 minutes, three days a week. After one year, their hippocampi grew by 2%. Both control groups (one assigned to stretching and one assigned to non-activity) each had hippocampi that shrunk by 1%.

It appears that cardiovascular exercise can help stop or even reverse age-related mental decline.

In The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge explains how physical exercise can help jumpstart neurogenesis-the creation of new neurons. The brain’s ability to adapt to new situations- neuroplasticity -is also linked with cardiovascular exercise.

You don’t have to be running marathons to get the benefits. As seen in the study above, even a walk outside can make a big difference.


When we grow up, we’re faced with new situations all the time. New material in school. Evolving social structures. Learning the ropes when we start our careers.

However, if you’re not careful, you can get complacent. While it can be comfortable to coast once you’ve settled into life, it’s not good for your health.

In The Brain That Changes Itself, Doidge explains that while physical exercise creates neurons, learning something new helps those neurons last longer. In addition, lifelong learning is associated with lower rates of dementia.

To keep the brain sharp, you can:

  • Read about unfamiliar topics
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Learn a new language
  • Memorize poems
  • Learn to dance

A dance class offers a learning opportunity, exercise, and social interaction. The trifecta!


Mix it up and become a student of life. Getting outside your comfort zone keeps your brain on its toes and encourages increased neuroplasticity.

Try switching up your habits. Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. For bonus points, brush your teeth on one leg! Then you’ll be training your body and mind at the same time.

Learning new things can also expose you to other people, which is another great way to keep yourself healthy as you age.


Communicating with friends and family can work wonders. In Better With Age, Alan Castel explains that older adults with a social life tend to outlive those who are more isolated. Plus, staying social is associated with lower dementia rates and higher immune system function.

Staying connected can also help keep older adults happy. In one study, social interaction helped prevent depression in older adults. However, only face-to-face interactions really worked. Talking on the phone had modest effects. Texts and emails didn’t help at all.

Staying social is especially important after retirement. Older adults should make an effort and get out into the world. Human interaction is key.

The best activities combine social activity with physical exercise and learning something new. A dance class is an excellent example of an activity that checks all three boxes. Maximum brain protection.


Relax. You have a lot to look forward to.

While getting older might seem scary, there are many benefits. Studies have shown that older adults are consistently happier than those in middle age. While younger adults tend to focus more on negative information and material goals, the elderly focus on positivity and social goals. It’ll get better!

With age comes wisdom. Older adults tend to be more effective at controlling their emotions, not jumping to conclusions, and learning from their mistakes.

In any case, worrying about the future won’t make it any better. Acceptance of one’s circumstances is a reliable marker of life satisfaction as we age.

In fact, in Better With Age, Castel explains how having a negative outlook on aging is associated with higher rates of dementia and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, staying positive and feeling younger is associated with a healthier lifestyle as an older adult. Just take a deep breath. You’ll be fine.

We should be thankful for what we have and stay present at the moment. We don’t need to fear old age.

“I am an old man, and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened” — Mark Twain

Perhaps the best course of action is to accept your circumstances while also preparing for the future. Be sure to get physical exercise, keep learning, and strengthen your relationships. Life is a wonderful journey. You have plenty of time left. Make the best of it.

  • By Michael Bjorn Huseby
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