Swimming is a fun way to get your recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.

5 Ways to Stay Healthy as You Age

September is officially Healthy Aging Month and a good time to take stock of your health and learn how to prevent common problems as you age. Here are some of the steps recommended by experts to help you stay healthy and active through the years.

1. Stay Socially Connected

That’s right, making plenty of time for friends, family and social activities has been shown time and again to be one of the keys to healthy aging. Joining a club, taking a class, and volunteering are all good ways to stay connected and involved.

2. Get Your 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day

Making time for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day can help protect against a host of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and weight gain. Walking and weight training are among the simplest ways to fit exercise into your schedule, or you might want to try a new activity like yoga or dance. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercises for older adults because it’s low impact. And don’t forget the small things: Take the stairs whenever possible, park further away from your destination, and take breaks at work to walk around the office.

3. Quit Smoking

If you smoke, you’re putting yourself at much greater risk for serious health problems as you age, so one of the best things you can do for yourself is quit smoking. While quitting is never easy, there are many helpful programs that can help help you quit and stay quit.

4. Keep Up with Your Checkups

Let Healthy Aging Month be a reminder to schedule those routine appointments such as checkups and vaccinations. And fall is also the best time to get a flu shot to be prepared for the winter flu season.

5. Take Steps to Reduce Stress

When it comes to healthy aging, mental health is an important component of your overall picture. Depression and anxiety can affect anyone, and stress is an ongoing problem for most people. If anxiety, depression or stress is affecting you, talk to family and friends and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. You can also take these 6 steps in your daily life to help you cope with stress.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.