You’ve heard of ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ but why wait for a new year to take stock of your life and make healthy improvements? Celebrate National Healthy Aging Month this September with these five easy ideas to incorporate into your daily life.

Add a walk into your daily routine

Walking is an activity that almost everyone can participate in. Enlist a friend, family member or neighbor to join you for a daily walk. Not only will you get a cardio workout, but the regular social engagement has been found to prolong life and enhance healthy aging. According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, past director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking and other regular physical exercise are “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.” For more information about the benefits of walking, view this Wellness Tip or this article from Consulate Health Care.

Express your creativity

Adding a creative outlet into your life has been proven to have positive effects on aging whether it’s taking up a new musical instrument, signing up for a painting class, or taking a dance class.  One study, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, showed that when older people become involved in culturally enriching programs, they experience a decline in depression, are less likely to fall, and pay fewer visits to the doctor. Dance, in particular, helps to improve balance, mobility, and strength. Artistic activities have also been linked to lowered blood pressure, reduced levels of stress hormones, and increased dopamine levels—the brain’s #1 feel-good chemical.

Celebrate the seasons

Seasonal cooking is a healthy way to celebrate where you live and understand the seasons. Set aside a few minutes to research which ingredients are in season and the best way to prepare it. Be sure to consult the Consulate Family Cookbook when you search for recipes to use your favorite seasonal ingredients or to try new ones this year!

Channel your inner bookworm

In addition to the entertainment value, reading has been shown to slow the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. When you read, you need to learn about new characters and keep track of details. Every new memory you create forges new synapses (brain pathways) and strengthens existing ones. This helps for short-term memory recall.

Manage your money

According to the AARP, a budget is one of the most important tools you can use to manage your money and save for retirement. They provide this useful budgeting worksheet, which you can use to plan for the future, and ensure that you have enough money to enjoy your golden years.

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