A key to staying (or becoming) vital at any age is to keep moving—mentally and physically. The good news is that it’s never too late to start. Any action you take is money in your energy bank.
The rewards of exercising your body and mind are both immediate and cumulative. Plus it really doesn’t take that much to stay physically fit. Just about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity daily (try our daily Classes!), plus some strength or resistance training a couple of times a week is enough to help your body stay agile, stimulate circulation and flush out toxins.
Physical exercise also improves mental focus and encourages new brain cell formation. Even more than this, like your muscles, your brain needs exercise in other ways to remain nimble.
Declining brain function is not a part and parcel of aging. You can enjoy a flexible, alert mind no matter how many years you’ve been on the planet. The trick is to stimulate your mind. Encourage neuroplasticity. Learn new things, stay curious, try something different.
One of the best things you can do to for your mind is to learn a new language. Language learning has bee shown to stimulate growth in the hippocampus and other areas of the brain. If you study a language with a different writing system, that can be especially challenging and rewarding.
Doing puzzles is also a fun way to keep mentally active, as is playing games like Scrabble and Words with Friends.
These days, you can learn skills of all kinds for little or no money—through YouTube videos, web tutorials and books available at the public library. Leap in! Challenge yourself and reap the rewards of mental vitality and an engaged outlook on life.
In fact, your outlook on things may be the most impactful of all.
What do you say to yourself? How do you think of this journey through life? If I could offer just two recommendations with respect to this, they would be:
- Erase the word “bored” from your vocabulary. This word is the antithesis of agility and adaptability. Adopt instead the mindset of a traveler. Explore your world. Let yourself be surprised. Shake yourself out of habits. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut.
- Be grateful. Gratitude keeps us open to things. Bitterness ages us.
Lastly, I would say to avoid clutter in you life. Give away things that are no longer useful to you. Recycle, move, transform the energy around you so that you don’t become stagnant. Simply changing the arrangement of the furniture in a room can create a more dynamic mindset.
The greatest quality of life comes through staying fluid and adaptable in body and mind. Don’t let yourself get stuck in habits. Change things up. Eat a different breakfast than you usually do, or take a walk down a different street or in a different part of town. Try a new sport, take music lessons or dive into the study of something completely novel to you.
You might be surprised by how rewarding it is to be in motion, and that surprise in itself is a benefit. To your vitality!