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August 2021

Positive Aging: The Happy, Healthy Way to Grow Older


The world turns, and so do the pages of the calendar. Aging is inevitable, so why not make the most of it?

True, some health risks increase with age. However, if you ask older adults, most are happier than they’ve ever been. According to a recent national survey of people ages 50 to 80:

  • 65% say life is better than they thought it would be

  • 88% are more comfortable being themselves

  • 80% have a strong sense of purpose

What’s more, these prophecies seem self-fulfilling. Older adults who view aging in a better light tend to have better health, physically and mentally. Meanwhile, focusing on the negative aspects of aging can predict poor health.

Rooted in research on mood and well-being, the positive aging movement aims to highlight this trend—and help more people than ever shine in their golden years. No matter how old you are, you can join it. These everyday steps can help you stay sharp and continue pursuing your passions.


  • Optimize your diet. Aim for foods rich in energizing nutrients. Pack your plate with brightly colored produce, whole grains, lean meats, unsalted nuts and seeds, and low-fat dairy.

  • Exercise regularly. The right amount—and type—of exercise varies by age and health status. But everyone needs to move. Training for a 5K, hiking through nature, gardening … the options are endless. Even small everyday motions, like walking the dog or playing with grandkids, add up.

  • Do activities you enjoy. Hobbies like traveling, dancing, reading, playing board games, or volunteering may help keep your mind and body functioning their best. Many also connect you to a supportive community.

  • Manage stress. Meditation, gratitude, and relaxation techniques ease strain on your mental health. So can asking for help when you need it, and accepting it when it’s offered.

  • Check your health regularly. Your primary care provider can advise you on the types of screenings and preventive care you need. Also, follow up if you have questions about medicines or symptoms, including signs of depression.

Note: Providers who promote positive aging treat you as a whole person. They call attention to your strengths, not just what’s “wrong” with your body. If your provider falls short, keep searching until you find someone with whom you’re comfortable.

Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2021
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