This year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is focusing on health aging. As we age, our bodies begin to break down. We experience aches and pains that weren’t there before. Physical therapy can help ease these pains and prevent new ones from occurring. Here are some tips for healthy aging.

  1. Exercise. Staying active is one of the most beneficial things you can do for healthy aging. As we age, our muscle mass decreases. Exercise helps build back muscle that was lost. Staying active can also help prevent heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. There are many fun ways to get exercise. Try a bike ride, walking outside, or a group fitness class.
  2. Be conscious of food you put into your body. Diet choices can make or break how your body ages. A balanced diet is the healthiest diet. Choosing foods that have a high nutritional value and low calorie count is your best option. Processed foods tend to be the opposite, low in nutritional value and higher in calorie count. Try whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein.
  3. It’s about attitude. An optimistic attitude is key to living a long, happy life. Research has shown that people to maintain a positive attitude tend to live longer. It can also help increase immune function and increases the chance of recovering from illness.
  4. Maintain healthy relationships. People who maintain strong social interactions do better with the aging process. They help us to stay positive, boost self esteem, and fill out time with fun activities. They can also help us get through those difficult times that occur in life.
  5. Sleep. According to the CDC, 25% of U.S. adults reporting poor sleep at least 15 days of the month. Sleep is a necessary requirement of life. Poor sleep health can lead to poor immune function, obesity, heart disease and decreased mental awareness. As we age those conditions are harder to fight off so, experts say 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal.