Keeping up with our mental and physical health is important at any point in life, but it becomes especially critical as we grow older. Many people will just as soon let themselves grow older and ignore their minds and physical well being. However, this is a bad idea: you should take care of yourself, no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here are some of the best ways to do just that.
Meditative Practices for a Healthy Mind and Body
Tai Chi, a form of meditative exercise that originates from China, is a great way to stay active and keep the mind sharp. The form has some similarities to Eastern martial arts, though it’s not nearly as intensive or combat-focused as, say, kung fu. Instead, Tai Chi is about balance: literally and metaphorically. Many of the forms help with physical balance, and the actions are meant to help the practitioner mentally balance their thoughts.
Another Eastern tradition that involves purposeful movement and exercise, yoga is incredibly popular among people of all ages. The poses and actions of yoga are all intended to help the practitioner get into shape and meditate, clearing their mind while they tone their body. The low-impact nature of yoga workouts make them perfect for older practitioners, too.
Even free meditation, involving breathing or mantras, or simply clearing your mind, is great for your mental health. Studies have shown that people who meditate for half an hour each day are much more likely to show no symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The benefits of meditation also include lowering heart rate, decreasing stress, improving mood and helping with feelings of depression, isolation and loneliness. Many people like to pair free meditation with their exercise habits, as it is often easier to clear one’s mind and center oneself while focusing on physical activity.