Six Tips for Aging Healthy

By Sarah Ellis, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at UF/IFAS Citrus County, and Linda Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida
Reviewed by Linda Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida

September is Healthy Aging Month! This is a great opportunity for adults over the age of 60 to focus on improving their mental, physical, social, and financial well-being. So what can you do to help making “aging healthy” a reality for you?

1. Exercise regularly

It’s never too late to get moving. Regular physical activity may prevent several age-related health conditions, like heart disease, osteoporosis, and even the ability to live independently. A recent paper in a journal on aging found that older adults who were more physically active on a daily basis were less likely to have problems with basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and getting around.

Specific types of exercise affect us in different ways. Strength training, either on machines at the gym or using free weights, helps to maintain muscle strength. Certain exercises can improve balance and agility, which makes life so much more enjoyable. Taking a walk (with or without a dog!) in the morning or after dinner is a great way to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Walking with a friend or family member is a good safety feature and it can keep you both motivated.

2. Get involved

How do you stay active and involved in your community? One of the things I admired most about my grandmother was her commitment to volunteering at a local soup kitchen. She loved the people and they loved her, and going there several days a week kept her active well into her eighties. That woman never seemed to focus on her own aches and pains or other life challenges (which she certainly had); she focused on helping other people, and if everyone was able to do that, there probably would be less sadness and isolation among older people. There are lots of other ways to stay involved, like taking a class, attending a senior center, or working for a local organization.

3. Think fresh for health

Prepared and processed foods are often high in fat, sodium, and added sugars. Preparing your own meals when you eat at home allows you to control the amount of these ingredients. Using herbs and spices adds flavor to foods without salt, sugar, and fat. Eat more fruits and vegetables; they are low in sodium, fat, and calories, yet high in key nutrients and fiber. Choose seasonal fruits and vegetables for the best flavor. If you prefer canned vegetables, look for “no salt added” or “reduced sodium” on the label.

4. Drink more water

The body requires an adequate water supply to function properly. Choosing water instead of sweetened drinks may help you manage your weight by reducing your daily calorie intake. Many beverages have little nutritional value and contain excessive calories and added sugars. Smarter beverage choices include water, seltzer, small amounts of 100% juice, and lowfat milk.

5. Get enough sleep

Sleep is important at any age—however, for older adults, a good night’s sleep is particularly important. Sleep helps improve concentration and memory, allows for repair of damaged cells, and rejuvenates your immune system. Lack of sleep can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.

6. Keep your memory sharp

Some medications, lack of sleep, and depression can affect your memory, but substantial memory loss is not a normal part of aging. For your brain to stay healthy, it needs to be exercised, just like your body. To keep your brain healthy, get plenty of sleep and exercise, socialize and laugh, limit your stress, eat a healthy diet, and exercise your brain by trying something new! Research shows that involvement in hobbies, such as crossword puzzles, board games, and crafts, is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia.

Age-related changes are inevitable. How you handle and grow with these changes is the key to aging healthy. Use these tips and find healthy ways to deal with challenges as they come your way.

(Photo credit: March 31 Grandmother blog image by US Department of Agriculture. CC BY 2.0. Cropped.)

Further Reading:

Aging: Health and Wellbeing–Many great publications on this topic are available here from UF-IFAS EDIS


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. Retrieved from

Hughes, T.F., Chang, C.C., VanderBilt, J., & Ganguli, M. (2010). Engagement in reading and hobbies and risk of incident dementia: the MoVIES project. American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias, 25 (5), 432-8. doi: 10.1177/1533317510368399

Tak, E., Kuipera, R., Chorusa, A., & Hopman-Rock, M. (2013). Prevention of onset and progression of basic ADL disability by physical activity in community dwelling older adults: A meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 12, 329-38.


Posted: September 4, 2014

Category: Relationships & Family, Work & Life
Tags: Health And Wellness, Healthy Aging, Nutrition And Food Systems


December 10, 2019

I love using a bread machine, too! Thanks for the recipe, it's great finding something new to experiment with. I mostly use the basic cycle because I love basic white bread but, from time to time, it's nice trying something new.

March 20, 2017

Very interesting information, thank u grosir obat herbal

Carol Church

November 17, 2014

This recipe is amazing and delicious and you don't have to knead it. You can sub in whole wheat flour for about 50% of the flour, but may need to add more water, and the loaf will be flatter. The long rise and high water content give it amazing flavor and texture. I also use this recipe, which makes two loaves and is sort of similar, but not the same. Again, you can sub in whole wheat flour for about 50%. I also like to add sesame seeds. I make this one in traditional loaf pans with a silicone liner (otherwise it will stick) so it can be used for sandwiches more easily. I used to make this recipe every week but haven't been getting around to it lately.

Donna Stoddard
November 11, 2014

I am sharing this blog with all of my students' families. Beautifully written!

October 15, 2014

I've never seen meat on BOGO! I've seen sales on cost per pound, but how do they provide them as BOGO? Would like more information about this as that would be a tremendous savings and a do have a freezer.

Carol Church

October 15, 2014

And then there's the snack provided to the kids after the game! (I can go for fruit and water, but that is not what tends to be provided) Fortunately, the stand turns out to be not that visible to the kids...they didn't notice it, at least this first time.

October 15, 2014

Thanks for sharing this Carol. Those concession stands were always a concern for me, as a nutritionist and mom interested in healthy eating for my family. We almost never bought anything, which made me feel a bit guilty that I was not supporting the team, but I figured that our health was more important than a few dollars for the team. Not only do those foods provide more fat, sodium, and/or added sugars than most people need, they tend to fill you up so that you may not eat a healthy dinner after the game. Of course, that was the other annoying part of soccer games ... the team always wanted to stop at McDonald's after the game! Oh my ...

Carol Church

October 10, 2014

Hi Selina, You may be looking for a point of contact with the UF FYCS department? I will send you an email with the appropriate info. :)

Selina Lee
October 10, 2014

Hi, We need you in the community for purpose of educating youth on your resources. Is this the source of contact to participate in an upcoming event. Please reply at e-mail if so. Agriculture Dept has participated in a previous event with our organization. Thanks so much for the plethora of info that comes from your letters. we appreciate you. Selina Lee

Carol Church

October 9, 2014

My family is totally converted to no-cook overnight oatmeal, whch we had never tried before this post! My daughter loves banana-peanut butter with a tiny bit of chopped dark chocolate, and my son likes apple-cinnamon. I am not a morning person, so I love that I can make it the night before!!

Avatar photo

September 25, 2014

I appreciate and agree with your comments, Kevin. Martial Arts are a special way to develop special talents that have gone by the wayside because we are too busy to slow down and realize that past practices, in many instances, still work well in our modern society -- especially with youth.

Kevin Folta
September 25, 2014

You raise a nice set of points there and maybe I can help expand them. I've studied for a long time, and one thing that is earned in training is a sense of community developing from common goals and collective perseverance. It is struggling together. It is setting unattainable goals, but then getting to them. "Special training" sessions are weekends of intense training that is awful. But you survive it and come out stronger. Nobody is a star. We're reminded that we can always do better and strive for perfection. You are always a student and learning, even when you're teaching. Those are some of the best lessons that can be learned and why kids should be involved in martial arts.

September 17, 2014

These are great suggestions. Wish I had time to try more of them than I will be able to try! Thanks for putting these together in one place ... great resource.

Linda Bobroff
September 8, 2014

Yes, a lot of people seem to like those flavored waters and sparkling waters. Call me a seltzer purist! Sometimes I do mix seltzer with orange juice or grape juice for a sparkly drink, so I'm not "pure" all the time ...


September 5, 2014

I find that if I carry a refillable water bottle with me I drink more during the day. I also prefer lemon sparkling water, with natural flavors. No calories, no sugar, no fat yet I get the bubbles!

Linda Bobroff
September 4, 2014

I'm actually not a big fan of water either, but I really enjoy seltzer, so that is my beverage of choice for hydration. You might try that and see if it works for you. No calories, no sugar ... great choice for thirst quenching.

September 4, 2014

It should be easy for me to drink more water, but somehow I don't. Thanks for the inspiration.

Linda Bobroff
September 3, 2014

This is a great blog post -- really enjoyed reading about this research and the fact that it demonstrated what I have long thought about this amazing book series -- that it has extremely positive messages and much to teach young people (and adults as well). One only has to be concerned about those readers who relate more to Malfoy or Voldemort than to Harry and his buddies ...

August 28, 2014

Howdy! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

جريل تيفال
August 26, 2014

Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

Michael Gutter
August 11, 2014

Excellent! We found some deals from online websites as well. This did require us to order two weeks ago or else we would not have had it arrive in time...

Carol Church

August 11, 2014

Just did my family's back to school shopping--I was able to find a $10 off coupon using a couponing app! :)

Karla Shelnutt
August 5, 2014

Good catch! Hopefully readers will still focus on the bottom line of this blog that suggests that consumers should be aware that many so-called super foods do not have super powers.

Cory Albrech
July 31, 2014

"Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and can boost your immune system." Umm, no. Nothing "boots your immune system", that's just one of those nonsense phrases from the alt-med & supplements community who think scientifical language legitimizes their claim. You're right to be wary of "superfood" claims, but also beware of false concepts like immune system boosting.

April 15, 2014

good article, thanks for information

Linda Bobroff
March 25, 2014

Getting a diagnosis is so important so that people can either make changes to reduce their risk of diabetes or begin to manage the disease if they already have it. In either case, lifestyle management can make a big difference in quality of life and long-term health. Thanks for the information about the on-line Diabetes Risk Test -- hopefully many people will take advantage of it.

March 25, 2014

Hey! AWESOME!! Thanks for the great info!!


March 20, 2014

Great addition. It is important that we check charges in bank statement, credit card statements, utilities, everything. Being a good consumer truly takes action on our part.

March 19, 2014

Good post. You mentioned here: "Be alert for bills, mail, or account statements that don’t arrive on time". To add to this, many people do not check their bank statements often enough to catch fraudulent activity in a timely manner. It is always a good thing to be mindful of the charges debiting an account and not take for granted that all charges are going to be legit.

March 1, 2014

This is great especially for people like me that needs financial help and assistance. I'll for sure share this to my friends. Thank you ecourtney. :)

Michael Gutter
February 13, 2014

Well said, I too have a growing collection of art projects and cards from my kids. I treasure these. In fact my wife still has a poem I wrote for her while we were dating in graduate school. She eventually had it mounted onto a plaque several years after we were married.

Linda Bobroff
February 12, 2014

This is a good reminder about what is really important on this holiday. It made me think about all of those cards I made for my parents when I was in elementary school know the ones with red paper and doilies! My mom kept those thoughtful (and cheap) cards for years and I too have some that my son made for me. Guess it is the thought that counts (although chocolate is really fun to get too, I must admit ...)!

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