Aging well isn’t just about looking and feeling great as you get older — it’s about expressing gratitude for the gift of another year and embracing changes as they come. But, aging well also means taking an active role in both your physical and mental health by prioritizing things like healthy diet, exercise, restorative sleep, calming mindfulness, and critical preventative screenings.
To help you welcome your next birthday with gratitude and enthusiasm for the years ahead, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to aging well. Read about groundbreaking medical innovations changing the way we approach aging and its current and future healthcare challenges. Learn the secrets of superagers who hold the key to getting older gracefully and get inspired by octogenarians like National Geographic Explorer Sylvia Earle, who, at 86, is still leading expeditions and crusading tirelessly to save our oceans. And make sure your shopping list is regularly stocked with the best heart-healthy, cancer-fighting, brain-boosting foods proven to help you look and feel better inside and out. As the saying goes, age is nothing but a number, so resolve today to follow these tips to be your best at every age.
Be Informed — Groundbreaking Innovations Are Changing the Face of Healthcare — Know Your Options
The last two years have been brutal for Americans. With approximately one million deaths in just over two years, this worldwide pandemic upended our lives in many ways.
But hope remains. We’ve assembled a list of 10 medical innovations that reveal the pandemic did not stop scientists from improving our lives. From the ability to deliver organs for transplant by drone, to improved cardiac aortic surgery and double lung transplants, to CAR T Cell therapy which experts say provides a cure for some blood cancers, the list is staggering.
Don’t Skimp on Screening — A Guide to the Life-Saving Screenings You Need at Ever Age
Preventative screenings are one of the most important steps you can take to stay on top of your health and the risks associated with aging. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so resolve to be your healthiest self now.
We asked the experts what people can do at various ages and stages to take the best possible care of themselves. “What’s right for one person may not be right for another. Everything should be individualized for the patient,” says Dr. Hillary Ecker, internal medicine specialist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.
Find out what you should be doing right now.
Take Up a Brain-Flexing Hobby — Billionaire Jack Schuler Turned to Oil Painting
What does it mean to age well? There are as many theories as there are anti-wrinkle serums at the pharmacy. For some people it is all about preserving how they look; others are more into checking items off their bucket list. Jack Schuler was in his early 60s when he realized the best way to live out the golden years was to exercise the creative side of his brain. He became a plein air painter.
“Painting came to my rescue and became my friend,” says the billionaire healthcare investor and philanthropist. Read how.
Excercise for Your Heart — The Best Workouts for Heart Health
Exercise is one of the very best things you can do to keep your heart healthy and functioning. But, as you develop an exercise regime with your heart health in mind, you may be curious: Is it better to jump on the treadmill for a cardio workout or pick up some weights for a strength training routine? And what role does your yoga or stretching routine play in all of this?
The good news, according to fitness and medical experts: There’s room for all of your favorite workouts in heart-healthy exercise routines. While cardio is often touted as, well, the exercise of choice for your cardiovascular system, strength training has many benefits, too.
Get Inspired — 86-year-old National Geographic Explorer Sylvia Earle Fights Every Day For Our Oceans
At 86 years old, world-renowned marine biologist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, conservationist and author Dr. Sylvia Earle continues to be one of our most inspiring advocates for the protection of the world’s oceans. Named the first-ever Time magazine “Hero for the Planet,” and called “Her Deepness” by the New York Times and the New Yorker, Earle is also former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, founder of SEAlliance, and president and chairman of Mission Blue.
Having spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, led more than 100 expeditions, and authored countless publications, she knows all too well the threats our oceans face — but, she believes there is still room for optimism, and she’s on a mission to spread the message that while time is running out to save our oceans, it hasn’t yet. Earle’s comprehensive new book, National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey, explores this theme and takes readers on an underwater tour of the world’s oceans, helping to broaden our understanding of their mysterious depths. We spoke to Earle about her new book, her ongoing mission, and what each of us can do to help.
Understand The Benefits of Lifelong Learning — How Continued Learning in Adulthood Helps Keep Your Brain Healthy
Better recently hosted “Benefits of Lifelong Learning,” a virtual discussion moderated by Susan B. Noyes and sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. The event featured speakers from the Alzheimer’s Association, the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Collectively, they showcased how the intersection of research, philanthropy, and equitable care may help combat Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia. Watch the virtual event and read the recap.
Think Positive — 12 Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Mood Right Now
Whatever the reason — or combination of reasons — you’re in a bad mood. Don’t you wish there was a quick way to just snap out of it already? As it turns out, there are several ways you can trick yourself into having a better day and improving your mood on the spot.
Evaluate Your Breast Cancer Risk — Know the Big Risk Factors
Breast cancer is the cancer with the highest incidence among women, regardless of race or ethnicity, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Many people are aware of the disease, but not what they can do to reduce their risk. “We strongly encourage women to take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer,” says Maryann Rasmussen, senior market manager of the Lakeshore Division of the American Cancer Society (ACS). “Prevention is much easier than having to treat or cure cancer.”
Breast cancer experts shared a few of the many risk factors for breast cancer and ways women can manage them to keep their risk as low as possible.
Use Tech for a Health Tune-Up — 11 Best Physical and Mental Health Apps
According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. — 43.8 million, or 18.5 percent — experiences mental illness in a given year.” Left untreated, mental illness can lead to chronic medical conditions. Take a break from social media and emails for some important self-care. Here are some apps that will help you do just that.
Follow the Leaders — 5 Surprising Habits of People Who Age Well
“Small steps can definitely add up to healthier aging,” says Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of the AARP and National Geographic book “Love Your Age: The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life.” “You don’t have to go from zero exercise to running a marathon, or from eating burgers and fries to being a vegan. Relatively easy tweaks to existing habits can and will help, and one healthy habit will lead to another.” Here are five surprising habits of people who age well.
Take Small Steps for Big Impact — 28 Simple Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
We’ve turned to health experts and research to discover 28 strategies to improve your heart health. These science-backed, small — yet specific — changes and goals can help strengthen your heart year-round.
Eat Smart — 9 Foods You Should Be Eating to Boost Brain Power
A diet filled with nutrient-rich foods can be a game-changer for your brain, improving your decision-making and problem-solving skills, as well as sharpening your focus and boosting your memory, explains Matthew Kuchan, Ph.D., lead scientist and resident nutrition and brain health expert at Abbott, a global healthcare company located in North Chicago.
Learn from SuperAgers — Could You Be One Too?
A fascinating study revealed interesting brain characteristics in older adults who aren’t aging like most. So-called SuperAgers have cognitive abilities like those of much younger people.
Scientists at Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Feinberg School of Medicine have been working to understand why some older adults’ brains function like those of people 20 to 30 years younger.
Stay Hydrated — Your Hydration Questions Answered, Plus 7 Tips to Help You Drink More Water
“Drink more water!” is advice for healthy living you’ve heard plenty of times before, but staying adequately hydrated is never as simple as it sounds. Here, we slake your thirst for guidance with some expert answers to all of your burning hydrations questions.
Evaluate Your Health Habits — 4 Bad Habits to Drop and One Good Habit to Adopt Instead
Knowing that something is bad or good for you is one thing. Actually doing or not doing it is another. Chances are you’re aware of some bad habits you really need to kick, and some healthy ones you should finally start adopting. We’re here to tell you the time is now.
Eat to Reduce Your Risk — 15 Foods and Diet Choices That Help Fight Breast Cancer
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. However, there are some lifestyle factors, including diet, that can reduce breast cancer risk — in some cases substantially.
Get Better Sleep — Don’t Fall for These 8 Sleep Myths
Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. But what if you’ve been making decisions about your sleep routine based on outdated information? We’re debunking some pervasive sleep myths. Hint: You may want to stop stressing if you’re not getting exactly eight hours of shut-eye each night.
More from Better:
- Natural Living: How Integrating Your Outdoor and Home Spaces Can Be Good for Your Health and the Planet
- Medical Professionals Share Healthy Habits They Swear By — And a Few They Fail At
- Living With a Disability While Aging: Local Author Francine Falk-Allen’s New Book Offers Insight and Humor on Coping