Healthy aging has more to do with establishing good daily habits than visiting your healthcare provider for fancy 50,000-mile tune-ups. What you do every day, day in and day out forms the basis of your longevity outlook. Our goal at Lompoc Valley Medical Center is not only to help people live long lives but to help people live long lives of high-quality health and enjoyment.

Here are the best ways to ensure that you stay healthy and age well.  

healthy fruit and vegitables
Eat for Longevity

Healthy aging is greatly assisted by healthy fuel. What you put into your body every day can either nourish it or counteract its efforts.

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Move Your Body

As you age, your body experiences a series of changes that make physical movement more difficult, including a natural loss of muscle mass, a decrease in cardiovascular fitness, and a loss of flexibility. You can combat these changes by adopting a diverse fitness program. This does not have to be intensive or flashy. A beneficial exercise program simply focuses on the following three tenants of movement.

older man working out

Maintaining Your Muscle Mass

An easy way to keep up your muscle mass is to do bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups or squats. If you have a staircase where you live, or somewhere nearby, you can do successful resistance exercises by walking up and down a flight or two, and varying your pace and weight load. For a lighter impact, try water aerobics with free weights. In addition to keeping your muscles fit and strong, strength training also helps maintain your bone density, which reduces your likelihood of fractures from falls, which are a big contributor to reduced healthy aging. You can read more about Bone and Joint Heath here.

man getting a cardiogram

Staying Cardiovascularly Fit

Many of us are familiar with the concept of aerobic exercise. This type of exercise helps maintain the health of our cardiovascular system, which includes the heart and its network of blood vessels. Even an activity as simple as walking 30 minutes a day, five times a week can help you to live a longer, healthier life. Other activities that can maintain or increase your cardiovascular fitness include swimming, dancing, or even vigorous gardening.

older woman band exercise

Maintaining Your Flexibility and Balance

One of the most undervalued aspects of physical movement is balance and flexibility. By focusing on these tenants, you can increase your confidence and stability and, most importantly, reduce your risk of falls. Simple exercises, such as one-leg raises or rotational jumps, can help keep you balanced and sturdy. Structured activities, such as dance classes, yoga classes, or tai chi, can make a big impact, too.

When it comes to the three types of exercise above, make sure you choose activities you enjoy so that you are more likely to stick with them over the long term. Find a fitness buddy so you can help motivate each other. If your exercise program is beginning to feel stale, try setting a new fitness goal, such as pledging to participate in a 5K walk or run.

Want more good news about moving your body? One side effect of incorporating daily movement into your life is that it can reduce your risk of developing the chronic health conditions that are the biggest threats to your health and longevity, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

older people playing games
Engage Your Mind

To age well in all aspects, it is important to keep your mind sharp and healthy, too. Find activities you enjoy—such as keeping up with the news, pleasure reading, puzzles, crosswords, or logic games—and stick with them. Another important way to engage your mind is to socialize. By spending time with other people, you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline. In order to ensure regular engagement with others, make sure to invest time in hobbies you enjoy or set up regular activities like card games or outings to interesting places.

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Avoid the Known Threats to Healthy Aging

Healthy aging may be as much about avoiding certain behaviors as it is about being proactive with positive behaviors. The following habits are known threats to healthy aging because they increase your likelihood of developing acute or chronic disease:  

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Stay on Top of Your Health

To be a healthy aging superstar, you should think of yourself as your own health advocate. Sometimes it is easy to forget the importance of checking in with your primary care provider for routine health maintenance, particularly if you are feeling well. However, the importance of a relationship with your primary care provider goes beyond just general screenings.

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Happy older couple cuddling
Healthy Sex Later in Life

Your relationship with your sexuality as you age is uniquely personal. Some men and women find that they are interested in maintaining or forming new sexual relationships later in life. Some find that sexual relationships become more valuable than during other phases of life, and others find that they have lost interest in pursuing sexual relationships. Anywhere you land on this spectrum is completely normal.

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When it comes to healthy aging, the above primer can help serve as your template. However, nothing can replace the personalized recommendations that you can get from your own medical provider. For more information about partnering with Lompoc Valley Medical Center in your healthy aging journey, visit our primary care services page.