People who stay healthy and mentally sharp in their retirement usually adopt these 9 daily habits

Ahhh. To be forever young. Now who doesn’t want that?

But while that’s physically impossible, there are those who remain healthy and mentally sharp in their 50s, 60s, or even 100s.

How do they do it?

Not by chugging the elixir of youth, but by good habits.

Here are 9 daily habits of people who stay healthy and mentally sharp in their golden years.

1) They exercise for at least 21 minutes

The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of VIGOROUS exercise per week.

Those who stay healthy and mentally sharp in their retirement do aerobic exercises for at least 21 minutes each day.

They’re not content with simply doing chores and tending the garden or moving around. 

They do something that can really get their blood pumping like dancing, running, swimming, or other aerobic exercises.

But while they do enjoy these exercises, they make sure that they don’t overdo it either because over-exercising can be a dangerous thing, especially for those over 50.

By doing at least 20-30 minutes of exercise daily, they’re not only making their bodies healthier, they’re also making sure that their brain remains sharp.

2) They spend quality time with friends and family

According to an almost 80-year-old longitudinal Harvard study, good genes are nice but joy is better.

They’re surprised to find out that relationships have a big impact on one’s health. 

“It wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships.”, said Robert Waldinger, the director of the study.

The people who regularly keep in touch and hang out with their friends are the ones who’ll likely be healthy and mentally sharp at 80.

So if you want to be like them, keep your friends close and do things with them!

3) They consume unhealthy treats

But only in moderation, of course!

Most of the people who live up to a hundred eat super healthily. This shouldn’t be surprising.

What’s surprising though is that many of the centenarians and supercentenarians drink and smoke all their life!

That’s why Centenarian researcher Fabrizio Villatoro has concluded that depriving oneself too much could actually backfire.

He says that we should allow ourselves to indulge from time to time—to “get off the hook a little bit” when it comes to treats such as chocolate and wine.

I guess Oscar Wilde is right when he said “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

4) They read and learn something new

There’s a study that showed taxi drivers had a larger hippocampus compared to bus drivers.

The researchers theorized that it’s because taxi drivers have the daily challenge of navigating and recalling the streets on demand. 

Their brains are always more active every single day.

People who stay mentally sharp in their old age are the ones who never stop learning.

They read, listen to music, admire art, and try many things.

So if you want to be mentally sharper at 90, you just have to learn something new every single day—even if it’s something as simple as a new way to cook an omelet.

5) They play puzzles and games

In my gym, there’s a sign on the wall that says “Use it or lose it.”

While I’m sure it’s referring to bones and muscles, this is also applicable to most things—including the brain.

Puzzles and games can help reduce the risk of dementia. 

And a study suggests that the effect is much bigger if these games are played with others (in other words, if it becomes a social activity).

Those who stay mentally sharp are the ones who are busy solving crosswords, but especially the ones who are playing chess and board games with friends.

6) They prioritize sleep

Some say that the older we get, the less sleep we need—that as long as we get quality sleep, we’re good.

That’s not true, according to UC Berkeley researchers. If you really want to live long, you need both quality and quantity.

That means adequate deep sleep

“Nearly every disease killing us in later life has a causal link to lack of sleep,” said the senior author, Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience.

Not only that. Lack of good sleep could lead to memory decline later in life.

Those who stay healthy and sharp in their retirement years make sure they’re not just sleeping six hours each night, but that they’re actually sleeping well. 

7) They meditate 

According to neuroscientist Richard Davidson, there’s a connection between positive emotions and brain health.

His 18-year analysis shows that daily meditation could slow down brain aging by up to eight years.

And this could be the reason why people who meditate daily stay healthy and mentally sharp even if they’re in their 50s and beyond.

Personally, I like being around older people who meditate daily because their calmness is so comforting—soothing even.

And I’d love to become a calm grandma who’s a source of joy. That’s what I want to be when I grow old.

8) They find things to laugh about

There’s a study by Yeshiva University that analyzed the characteristics of nearly 250 centenarians.

They found out that most of them share the same traits.

They’re easygoing, extroverted, and optimistic.

And the most important thing of all—they love to laugh.

People who stay healthy and mentally sharp are very lighthearted and fun to be around.

They don’t even have to watch a sitcom to have something to laugh about. They crack jokes, they notice funny situations, and they even make fun of themselves.

So if you want to be healthy and mentally sharp til you’re 80, don’t be too serious. Trust me—there is always something to laugh about.

9) They say “yes” to life

I have an 85-year-old grand aunt in Hong Kong. 

She’s not in bed worrying about aging or death. She’s always out and about!

She’s either having tea with her friends or playing Mahjong across her apartment. 

She has more social life than me!

And this is common to those who live long and happy lives.

One of the participants on the study on centenarians said:

“At 6 p.m. is the party for the grandparents and I’m going to go. Also, there’s bingo and I don’t want to miss it.”

Now, ain’t that cool?

People who stay healthy and mentally sharp are the ones who don’t just sit on the sidelines. They don’t watch TV shows every night or staring at the clock and thinking about how they’ll die.

In other words, they’re not simply waiting for Death to take them.

They live and have a grand time each and every single day.

Final thoughts

There’s no guarantee that we’re all going to live long.

But it’s good to prepare anyway.

You don’t want to be sickly and weak and forgetful when you’re 60. You want to be vibrant and full of life!

Luckily, you still have time.

Even doing these habits for one year straight will dramatically improve your quality of life. And if you keep doing them until you’re old and gray, trust me…you might not look young, but you’ll feel and think young.

So start now. Your future self will thank you for it.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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