How baby boomers can feel young and stay sharp

We are often attracted here at BoomerCafé to good advice about staying young — after all, BoomerCafé is for baby boomers with young and active lifestyles. So we liked something we saw from Sarah Marchant of St. Louis, who writes blogs for Goedeker’s Home Life. She put together a long list called “80 Ways To Feel Young And Stay Sharp,” and we asked her to shorten it to the headlines.

Getting older is a natural, inevitable part of life, and baby boomers are well down that road. As any of us grows older, it becomes easy to look back wistfully on years past and wish we could reclaim our youth. While your 20s might be the peak of physical capability and mental clarity, that doesn’t mean that all the years that follow have to be a letdown.

Sarah Marchant … knows stuff.

Sarah Marchant … knows stuff.

You can still look and feel young and vibrant for years if you take care of yourself the right way. But retaining your vitality is about so much more than doing theSunday crossword and eating your vegetables -– though those surely can play a part. There is an abundance of tips out there for promoting the health of your body, enhancing your mind, and feeling young at heart no matter your age. Here are just a few:

Schedule regular checkups. See your doctor every six months to a year to stay informed about the state of your health. If you notice any negative symptoms between visits, take detailed notes so you can come to your next appointment prepared.

Always eat breakfast! What they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day might have a grain of truth. Among other benefits, eating a healthy breakfast can give you a more nutritionally complete diet, improved concentration and performance, and better weight control.

Take a walk. According to Gary Small, MD, the director of the UCLA Center on Aging, “Walking for just ten minutes a day lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s by 40%.” Other regular physical activities that do not require much exertion, such as biking, gardening, or yard work, will also do the trick.

Switch up your routine. Sometimes our brains need to be awakened. This could mean driving a different way home than the route you normally take. Or performing a task with a different hand, like stirring a pot of food, brushing your teeth, or cleaning your house.

Don’t be afraid to branch out. Read different kinds of books than you normally do, watch documentaries or thought-provoking movies, and don’t play the same games over and over again. The mind thrives on variety.

Get enough sleep. Strive for the recommended amount of sleep each night-– for adults, it is 7-9 hours-– and rest whenever you feel tired. Sleep serves to improve your reaction times, memory, and I.Q., and it helps consolidate your memories more efficiently. Sleep deficit causes proteins to build up on your synapses, and chronic sleeping problems have been linked to cognitive decline.

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Stay social. Besides the happiness that naturally comes from spending time with those you love, research has found that socializing is just as much of a cognitive exercise as crossword puzzles. It utilizes the parts of your brain that are associated with planning, decision-making, abstract thinking, language skills, and response control. Not to mention, it also reduces cortisol, thestress hormone.

Get involved. Consider joining a club, participating in a book group, attending a class, or doing volunteer work. These combinations of social and mental activity greatly stimulate your prefrontal cortex, and they are all rewarding in their own ways.

Shift your mindset. Instead of fighting it, accept the fact that you are growing older-– always remember, “Older is wiser”— but don’t let this rule your life. You shouldn’t allow room for any unnecessary negativity. Rediscover your enthusiasm, because feeling young at heart actually combats the physical and mental effects of aging, ultimately leading to a more satisfying life overall!

3 Comments

  1. Thank you Sarah! Sometimes we Boomers do have to take our heads out of the sand or clouds, as the case may be, and come to grips with the fact that we are getting older. I like your take on it, older, but also wiser. You provided good sound advice. Much appreciated by this Boomer who is getting older and I hope wiser.

  2. Great post! Thank you so much for these tips, which really anybody can apply. I think a great take away would be stay healthy and switch things up.

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