Secrets for a Long and Happy Life You Can Implement Now

I have about four more years to go until I am 60 years old. According to statistics, I can expect to live until I am around 83 years old. There are a lot of factors that go into that which could either lessen my time on earth or lengthen it. I, for one, am not ready to ‘check out’ any time soon. However, I also do not want to be one of those elderly people just shuffling down the hall in an assisted living home and not actually doing anything but going through the motions of living. I want to be able to take each day by the horns and live it to the fullest!

So the question is – how do you do that?

The secret to a long and happy life is a topic that has been studied and contemplated by many researchers, philosophers, and individuals over the years. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, here are some key factors that are often associated with a long and happy life. Some I have researched online, others have been obtained by just listening to my elders and finding the common thread among all of them. Here are my personal observations for those of us who have hit the half-century mark.

Key Elements to a Healthy Lifestyle

Taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress effectively. Engaging in activities you enjoy and finding a sense of purpose can also contribute to overall well-being.

Exercising Regularly

When it comes to exercise equipment for the elderly, it is crucial to prioritize safety, ease of use, and low-impact activities. Below are some examples of exercise equipment commonly suggested for older adults.

secrets for a long and happy life - stay active
Get Your Exercise Anywhere

Pedal exercisers or under desk ellipticals are compact devices that provide a gentle cardiovascular workout and can help improve leg strength and circulation. They are designed for seniors to pedal while sitting in a chair or on a sofa or while seated at a desk – they fit right under your desk so you can work and exercise at the same time!

An elliptical trainer is a fitness machine that provides a full-body workout with low impact on the joints. It features comfortable handles and adjustable resistance levels.

Recumbent Exercise Bikes are designed with a comfortable and reclined seating position, along with a backrest, which makes them perfect for seniors who have limited mobility or back issues. These bikes offer a low-impact cardiovascular workout option.

A non-slip, cushioned mat is recommended for floor exercises, stretching, and yoga poses as it provides a comfortable surface and helps prevent discomfort or injuries.

Resistance bands are lightweight, portable, and versatile. They can be used to perform various strength-training exercises that help maintain muscle strength and flexibility.

Laughter Really IS The Best Medicine

LAUGHTER is a key element in having a longer life. Here’s why:

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. These endorphins help alleviate stress and promote a relaxed feeling. Laughing may indirectly contribute to better overall health and a reduced risk of stress-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease. My Uncle Tom was a laugher – he always had a smile on his face and was always full of laughter. He was that one individual who could light up a room no matter what the situation.

Immune System Boost

Laughter has a positive effect on your immune system. Happy people generally do not get sick very often because laughter can increase the production of antibodies in your system and activate immune cells, leading to a stronger immune response. I am the belly-laugh individual in my family, most days! During COVID, my husband and sons all caught COVID multiple times and I took care of them and had no issues. I had a very mild case of COVID but bounced back after just a few days with symptoms that felt like nothing worse than a bad cold. I attribute keeping a positive outlook and finding something to laugh about each day to be able to fight off COVID.

Physical Health Benefits

Who thought laughing would give you physical health benefits? My favorite aspect – getting a workout just from laughing! Laughing engages multiple muscle groups and can give you a mild workout for your entire body. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increases your heart rate and oxygen intake, and improves blood circulation. I have noticed that, even with arthritis, on the days that I am in an extremely good mood and laugh a lot, I don’t have nearly as much pain in my knees and lower legs. Regular laughter, combined with an active lifestyle, can help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

secrets for a long and happy life - laugh!

Pain Relief

Mentally I know and understand that laughing releases endorphins, which is nature’s way of providing pain relief, and that they can temporarily alleviate pain and discomfort by promoting a sense of well-being and distracting you from the physical discomfort you may be feeling. Laughter will not cure any underlying health conditions, but if you’ve ever had surgery, you will now better understand why your doctor jokes and kids with you before surgery to get you to laugh and relax. There are some days though – like when I broke my right arm a few years ago – when there are not enough endorphins in the entire world to take away the pain you might be experiencing.

Psychological Well-Being

I personally feel as though maintaining a good physical and mental health balance is one of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle. When you are happy you feel better, but do you know WHY? Because when you are happy and in a ‘great mood’ you tend to smile and laugh and interact with others around you in a positive manner.

My grandparents were part of the Silent Generation, and my parents were the Baby Boomers. One of their favorite sayings when I came to them with something that was wrong with me or just felt off was, “It’s all in your head.” I have, unfortunately, reiterated those words unconsciously to my husband and children at various times as well. I am so very thankful that mental health issues and overall psychological well-being are now being openly talked about and discussed and the impact of mental health is just as important as treating your overall physical health. It is imperative that you have good mental health for overall health.

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is crucial for individuals of all ages, particularly those over 50. As people get older, their nutrient requirements may alter, necessitating certain precautions. The following is a basic outline for a balanced diet for individuals above the age of 50.

Fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet. Including a variety of colorful options like berries, leafy greens, citrus fruits, broccoli, and carrots can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Whole grains, such as whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and oats, have high fiber content. This promotes proper digestion and contributes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Include lean sources of protein in your diet, such as poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans, lentils), and nuts. Adequate protein intake is essential for preserving muscle mass and supporting tissue repair.

Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. If you prefer non-dairy alternatives, opt for fortified soy, almond, or oat milk, and calcium-rich foods like tofu, leafy greens, and fortified cereals.

Incorporate healthy fats in moderation, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. They provide essential fatty acids and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

secrets for a long and happy life - eat healthy

Reducing sodium intake is important for maintaining a healthy diet. This can be achieved by minimizing the consumption of processed foods with high sodium content. Instead, one can use herbs, spices, and other seasonings to add flavor to meals.

Hydration is important for maintaining good health. It is recommended to drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated. It is also advised to avoid drinking too many sugary beverages and alcohol.

Older adults may require additional vitamin D and calcium. Good sources of these nutrients include fortified dairy or non-dairy products, fatty fish, egg yolks, and supplements if needed. It is advisable to seek personalized recommendations from a healthcare professional.

Fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, are beneficial for digestion, promoting regular bowel movements, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Portion control is important for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing overeating. It is crucial to be mindful of portion sizes. Additionally, paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help you avoid overeating.


Getting enough restorative sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially as we age. Here are some useful sleep tips for those over 50:

  • Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule – go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Relaxing Bedtime Routine – signals your body that it is time to wind down.
  • Restful Sleep Environment – make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep – cool, dark, and quiet.
  • Avoid Stimulants – anything with caffeine or alcohol close to bed should be a no-no.
  • Stay Active – aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day to enhance your sleep quality.
  • Manage Stress Levels – practice stress reduction such as meditation, mindfulness, or journaling before bedtime.
  • Limit Evening Screen Time – avoid using screens such as smartphones, tablets, or TVs at least an hour before bed.
  • No Heavy Meals – do not eat a large dinner and then go straight to bed. Opt for a light snack instead.
  • Manage Medications – check with your doctor to see if any medications you are taking could be affecting your sleep.

Final Thoughts and Tips

Finally, some general thoughts on how to ensure you have a long and happy life.

Positive Relationships – Nurturing healthy and supportive relationships with family, friends, and community members can significantly impact happiness and longevity. Social connections provide emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging.

Meaningful Engagement – Engaging in activities that bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose is essential. Pursue hobbies, interests, or a career that you are passionate about, as this can give your life meaning and a sense of fulfillment.

Emotional Well-being – Cultivating emotional resilience, self-awareness, and practicing gratitude and mindfulness can positively impact your well-being. Learning to manage negative emotions, seeking support when needed, and finding ways to maintain a positive mindset are important for long-term happiness.

secrets for a long and happy life - continue learning

Continuous Learning – Staying mentally active and intellectually curious throughout your life can help keep your brain sharp and provide a sense of growth. Engage in activities such as reading, learning new skills such as playing an instrument, solving puzzles, or pursuing education to stimulate your mind. Never stop learning new things!

Optimistic Outlook – Maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude toward life can have a profound impact on your well-being. Focusing on the good, practicing resilience in the face of challenges, and maintaining a hopeful outlook can contribute to a happier and more fulfilling life.

Remember, these factors are general guidelines, and each person’s journey toward a long and happy life may differ. It’s important to discover what works best for you and make choices that align with your values and aspirations.

2020 Kimberly Signature

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