Is Your Current Lifestyle Healthy and Enjoyable?

I frequently write and talk about the benefits of having Essential Conversations with people we love. Essential Conversations, as I define them, are talking to the most important people about the most important things in our lives. When it comes to health and wellness, it’s likely that the first person we need to have a conversation with is ourselves!

Many of us now know that our health and longevity are impacted much more by our lifestyle and behaviours than by our genetics. This may make you worried that you waited too long to make good choices. Good news: there is evidence that it’s never too late to make changes that positively impact our health. John Hopkins Medicine published an article titled, “It’s Never Too Late: Five Healthy Steps at Any Age,” and The Guardian published an article with the headline, “Key to Longer Life May Lie in Keeping Fit From the Age of 70.” It continues: “Former Lifestyle May Not Determine Longevity.”

Given that research strongly supports a healthy lifestyle, following are some of the conversations you might want to have with yourself at this stage of life.

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How is your diet?

We know that a varied and healthy diet is one of the key components to good health at any age. Yet many people find as they get older they aren’t as interested in shopping for and preparing well-rounded meals. Instead, many people find they sacrifice nutrition for convenience. Ask yourself if there are changes you might need to make to improve your diet.

Are you active enough?

The evidence is strong that movement matters! Are you as active as you could be? Having enough interesting ways to incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle is important. Ask yourself if there are ways you could increase your activity level that also feel fun to you.

Do you have a fulfilling social life?

This may be one of the most enjoyable elements of a long and healthy life! A Huffington Post article, “Why Friends May Be Your Ticket to Living to 100,” says that regular social contact is as about as important as health habits such as keeping blood pressure in check, eating a healthy diet, drinking in moderation, combatting obesity, and not smoking. For many people, social contact becomes more challenging as they age. Sometimes not having enough time with people we like happens because friends have moved away or passed, and sometimes it’s because health challenges make it harder to get together. Given the positive benefits of social connection, it’s important to make sure you have enough friends in your life. Ask yourself how you could spend more time with people you truly enjoy.

One of best things we can all do for our health is to recognize when our living situation is no longer supporting a healthy lifestyle. Usually these changes happen gradually, and few of us stop and ask ourselves if where we’ are living is best for our current stage of life. The goal is not to wait so long that our day-to-day life becomes difficult or just lacks the joy it used to have.

If cooking and shopping have become uninteresting or difficult, or you are finding you don’t have enough contact with friends, or are challenged by having enough fun activity, you might want to consider the benefits of retirement living. The opportunity to form new friendships with people who are friendly and interesting is one of the perks of retirement living. Another is healthy and varied meals that you don’t have to prepare! And if you are looking for more fun and movement in your life, retirement living means easy access to exciting and varied programs, including gentle exercise.

Today may be a good day to have an Essential Conversation with yourself about how to take steps to improve your health and wellness. Remember, it’s never too late!

Dr. Amy D'Aprix, Retirement and caregiving expert

About Dr. Amy D’Aprix 

Dr. Amy is a certified senior advisor, Vice President of the International Federation on Aging, and Co-Founder of the Essential Conversations Project. As a gerontological social worker, she has over thirty years of experience working with older adults and their families. 

Articles By Dr. Amy

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