Three tips for healthy aging from the 2013 National Senior Games Silver Medalists

What’s the secret to making it to age 80 and remaining active, happy and healthy? No, the answer isn’t “finding the fountain of youth.”

Playing competitive basketball together for the past 15 years, the New Mexico Cruisin’ Big Dogs of the 2013 National Senior Games know exactly what that secret is. These six members, Katherine “Kay” Dolce, 89, Claire Hanson, 81, Barbara Loveless, 80, Arlene Mayer, 82, Ina Stewart, 81 and Mickey Sutton, 80 can tell you it involves combining the following tips into your daily lifestyle.

No. 1: Be active.

“Keep walking,” says Sutton in an interview with Life Line Screening. “I think if that’s all you can do, walk as much as you can.”

Another method the women suggest is finding a sport or other hobby you love, like they did with basketball, and take part in it with friends. As long as you’re moving and staying active, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Just find what you love and stick to it.

No. 2: Eat well.

“A good diet and exercise [is important],” says Dolce. “And you need to get your rest.”

Proper nutrition is essential for people of all ages, but it’s especially important as you get older and your body becomes more susceptible to serious health problems, like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Eat a well-rounded diet full of protein, fiber, calcium and other important nutrients to give your body the fuel it needs to stay strong.

No. 3: Love.

“You tend to be alone and separate [at our age], and that leaves you not interested in anything,” says Mayer. “So be connected with friends and volunteer and work and serve.”

We often forget how important the emotional aspect of health is to our overall well-being. To keep your body and mind happy and strong, you should always be striving to maintain and create connections with other people.

In the end, all three of these ultimate healthy aging tips come together. Stay active and eat well with your friends and family. This will allow you to foster and sustain relationships, give your body the nutrition it needs, and keep your body strong for years to come. And hey, you might even make it to an active and healthy age 80, like these ladies did. You never know.