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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Healthy Aging - Topic Overview

What do you need to do to feel your best as you age?

One of the most important things you can do for your health at any age is to be physically active. Physical activity keeps your body strong, and it helps with how you feel. People who stay active are less likely to get depressed. Physical activity can be anything from walking to gardening to working out at the gym. The important thing is to be active almost every day. No matter what your age or condition, there is a type of physical activity that's right for you. Always ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to start a physical activity program.

Your mental and emotional health are also important. Protect or improve your emotional health by staying in touch with friends, family, and the community. People who feel connected to others are more likely to thrive than those who do not. And try to keep stress at a minimum. In addition to getting regular physical activity, you can take charge of how stress affects you by taking 20 minutes a day to just relax.

To protect or improve your memory and mental sharpness, keep your brain active and challenged. Learn or do something new and different. For example, attend an educational workshop or learn a new card game. Depression can be a serious problem for older adults. If you think you may be depressed, seek help—antidepressant medicine and counseling can help treat depression.

Other good health habits can help you stay at your best:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid salty foods and foods with a lot of fat in them, such as fried foods.
  • Remember that sexually transmitted infections can affect anyone at any age, so practicing safer sex is a must.
  • If you smoke, try to quit.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Don't abuse alcohol or drugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about healthy aging:

Ways to stay healthy while aging:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 24, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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