15 Reasons that Motivate You to WANT to Grow Old

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The general public has a negative view of aging. Most individuals would rather be run over by a truck than to get old. It's because most people embrace a preconceived idea that it's all about decline. I'm sorry you feel that way, but I choose to embrace it as an opportunity to spend the "aging years" enjoying the things I love.

Yes, growing older has its limitations; the body slows down a bit, we're leery about needless risks, we're careful about the foods to eat, and we have to be more mindful. But those are good choices to make no matter the age.

Recent studies focus on the optimistic "side" of getting older. Scientists and geriatricians tell us we don't have to sit it out just because a person reached a certain number in years. There are a few "healthy" protocols that, if followed, will help us live longer but not in a way that's boring and nonproductive.

That's the purpose of the article. I wanted to know what lifestyle additions or eliminations do you, and I, need to follow if we want to live longer? Not for the sake of adding candles to the cake but for the purpose of enjoying life on our terms.

I asked over 100 aging experts at Seniorcare.com,

What is one change that a person can do TODAY that will increase the years they live?

To my surprise, most of them told me to do EXACTLY what I am doing already--maybe the same goes for you too. And the best part, the suggestions are ALL of my most favorite things!

Get up and move--naturally

Exercise does not mean stair climbers and treadmills. It means to "keep moving", according to the Blue Zones--just move naturally. It's a mindset change. And speaking of mindset, meditation, twice a day can calm, restore and renew you. Anthony Cirillo

Walk

Normally or in a swimming pool, walking is a way to decrease the risk of disability. ScienceDaily.com just issued a report for boomers stating that regular walking can "increase their likelihood of maintaining independence." It helped my older dad who walked every day even after a Parkinsons disease diagnosis. He stayed active much longer than the doctors expected. Kaye Swain

Smile and a positive attitude

Smile! It's contagious! A positive attitude and enthusiastic outlook on life can yield benefits to your physical well-being as well as your mental health. When you are happy, your attitude rubs off on others making your daily life more positive and less stressful. Being happy is thought to keep you from becoming ill and protect your physical health. Research shows that being in the moment and happy can influence longevity. Smiling and laughing use muscles too! Kathy Birkett

Dance

Participating in ballroom dancing improves balance, leg strength, brain health, and lowers the risk of falling. These factors translate into increased life expectancy. As opposed to 'traditional exercise', which many elders may not want to participate in, dancing is an activity that many elders like; they have enjoyed music earlier in their lives and music has a stimulating effect on the desire to dance. Rein Tideiksaar

Eat chocolate

Enjoy a daily dose of dark chocolate! Consuming 100 grams of dark chocolate a day not only decreases one's blood pressure but has also been shown to enhance the elasticity of blood veins. Another added benefit is the decrease in insulin sensitivity. David Mordehi

Travel

Take a vacation--it is good for the soul and actually, can extend life expectancy particularly in men. Research shows that men who regularly vacation reduce the risk of death by 20% and heart disease by 30%. Dr. Lori Stevic-Rust

Eat beans and drink wine (not in that order)

Eat beans, drink wine and stay connected. Great reason to have a glass of wine with friends right now! Michelle Jeong

Get social and sing

Social engagement can increase life expectancy, what's less known is that singing in a group is one of the fastest ways to create social bonds. (No worries - the research doesn't say that participants actually have to be good at singing!) Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D.

Sleep

Get enough sleep and cut down on your stress. The two are related, and both are real problems for most. We now know that distress can lead to terrible healthcare problems as does the lack of sleep. Dr, Eboni Green

Tell your story

One surprising activity with many notable psychological-social benefits is life story reflection and legacy preservation. The emotional and health benefits seniors receive from facilitating these social connections are tremendous; older generations can pass on wisdom to younger generations and enlighten them by sharing the differences in their lives or things they remember from historical events. Niles Lichtenstein

Play games

Play board games with friends, do a crossword puzzle, read a great novel. Do "exercises" for your brain. I know I am not "breaking new ground" here, but we have all heard the saying "A Mind is a terrible thing to waste"! I truly believe that. A healthy mind and an active body will do wonders for all including the Elderly. Stay active and be positive each and every day. Bryan London

Find purpose

Find purpose, and passion. These are interrelated. Many find that serving someone else's need can be key, the reason to get up out of bed in the morning, a challenge to meet because someone needs you. Nancy Ruffner

Get hugs

In many cultures, including the United States, it is common for people of every age to be touch deprived. When we can create appropriate enough, compassionate, healthful touch for everyone--we will likely see a reduction in depression, stress-related illnesses, and even suicide. Margo Rose

Plant based diet

Switching to a plant-based diet increases life expectancy because the food is unrefined and not processed. A plant-based diet will give anyone at any age the appropriate amount of nutrition (yes, even protein!) for a long, healthy life. Plant-based diets immediately remove cholesterol and highly reduce the risks of common diseases (heart disease, cancer, joint pain, osteoporosis) as well as help aid in curing most diseases. Gjenes Belamide

Don't isolate

Prevent social isolation by staying engaged with family, friends, and community. Studies show that socially isolated seniors are 26% more likely to die. Regular social interaction improves life expectancy because someone is liable to notice if something is wrong, which helps people get earlier treatment for health issues. Socialization also improves health by boosting mood and reducing stress. Connie Chow