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7 Keys to Successful Aging

There are some common denominators to those who age into their ninth decade. Many studies have been done on the topic of healthy aging, but seven traits contributing to a high quality of life have surfaced over the years. This list is by no means complete, but it does reflect the medical data – and first-hand experience – of many doc­tors who care for older adults.

1. Care about your physical health 

It seems obvious, but tending to your physical health – doing what you can to preserve and improve your health habits – is key to a good quality of life in later years. Don’t smoke, exercise regularly, don’t drink alcohol to excess and follow your doctor’s health advice.

2. Tend to your mental health 

When you become disheartened, take care of yourself emo­tionally. Exercise, shop, talk to a friend. Make an effort to raise your spirits with activi­ties that are proven blues-busters.

3. Cultivate a spiritual side

Quality aging is seen in people who have a spiritual perspec­tive on life. Spirituality comes in many forms, including prayer and meditation. 

4. Value work

Having a strong work ethic and believing that work is valu­able is another hallmark of aging well. Volunteer with gusto, work at a career as long as possible, care for young children or pursue a creative endeavor.

5. Don't forget to play

A sense of humor, enjoying laughter and jokes and spending time with the younger generation all contribute to good aging.

6. Give back

Altruism, or giving back to the community near and far, is a desire to contribute to others and see needs beyond your own. It can keep you nimble, “other-oriented” and caring.

7. Have love in your life 

Your family, spouse and/or beloved pet are important, loving connections that can improve overall quality of life.

All seven of these traits work together to contribute to healthy, vibrant aging. Personally growing in all seven characteristics can only have beneficial results for ourselves and those who share our lives.