We all know that we can’t possibly live forever and that aging is inevitable. Perhaps your skin is starting to sag a little bit, maybe there are a few more age spots on your hands or you may have noticed that you tire more easily than you used to.

These may all be signs of aging, however, that doesn’t mean that we can’t age gracefully and find ways to live out our senior years in good physical and mental health.

Regardless of your current tendencies, it’s never too late to change. Whether you’re 40-years-old, in your 50s, 60s, or 70s, you will still reap the benefits of adjusting your lifestyle and starting healthy new habits.

“Some people think that it is too late to change and that it won’t make a difference,” said Jody Kehler, Licensed Practical Nurse and Senior Living Specialist. “But that’s not at all true, many studies have shown results that say otherwise. Making changes to your lifestyle can and will make a difference in how we age.”

Aging gracefully isn’t, however, just about your physical appearance. It’s about staying active, decreasing your chances of facing serious health challenges and continuing to do all the things that you love doing.

When you think about your current lifestyle, some of your activities and routines may stand out more than others in terms of what might be most beneficial to change in order to make a positive impact on your health. Others may not be so obvious, here are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid overindulging. This includes everything from smoking to consuming alcohol to managing what you eat. Moderation is best and remember: eat to live, don’t live to eat.
  • Reduce salt and sugar intake. Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure, too much sugar can lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels. Both can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other illnesses and diseases.
  • Be conscious of excessive sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen and limiting your exposure to the sun can help to prevent fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.
  • Stay active. We’ve all heard the saying, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Enrol in fitness classes, go for daily walks, do whatever you can to keep physically active. Practicing yoga and meditation are great activities to maintain both mental and physical health.
  • Get plenty of rest. Nothing restores your energy levels or heals your body like proper rest and relaxation.
  • Reduce stress. High levels of stress can cause you to look a lot older than what you are. Do what you can to manage whatever causes you stress. You may want to take a careful look at your finances, career, housing situation or current relationships. Put a plan in place to reduce stress or find ways to help manage it.

Finally, one of the best ways to age gracefully is to stay positive and keep smiling!