Aging gracefully is not about looking young at an older age, it is about living your best life by having the mental and physical health to enjoy it. As the aging population in the United States continues to rise, regardless of your age, you can live a healthy, happy, and full life.
The aging process comes with so many changes and it can be challenging to take care of yourself. However, there is something you can practice in your life to promote healthy aging. This article shares 8 healthy aging tips that you can easily incorporate into your life.
1. Staying Physically Active
Exercising regularly or any form of physical activity significantly reduces your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It also promotes bone health and makes a huge difference in your physical capabilities, mindset, and mood.
Exercising or physical activity does not have to be intense you can try stretching, balance routines, walking, weight training, and aerobics. Exercise safety should also be considered to avoid risks such as falls or injuries from excessive training.
For seniors that are new to exercises, it is important to first consult with your physician on the kind of workouts that would work for you especially if you have an underlying condition. When given a go-ahead, start slowly and build up gradually.
2. Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
“We are what we eat!” As you age, you need to focus on a diet that has the right mix of protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These will help in increasing your energy, lose excess weight or maintain healthy body weight.
It is recommended that older adults focus on a Mediterranean diet which comprises fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Cutting back V also improves your overall wellbeing. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will also keep you hydrated and improve your overall health.
Older adults should also avoid fad diets as they could affect their metabolic function and also lead to poor eating habits. It is important to identify a sustainable diet that will be easy to practice every day. You can apply these simple nutrition tips to help you develop healthier and sustainable nutritional habits.
3. Limit Alcohol Intake and Do Not Smoke
Substance abuse in older adults is a painful reality in our society. While moderation in alcohol intake is advised, some older adults indulge in binge drinking and substance abuse. Recent studies show that one to two drinks a day can increase the risk of a stroke by 10% to 15%. Older adults should avoid excessive drinking as it harms their health.
According to the CDC, in the United States, 40% of diagnosed cancers have a link to tobacco use. Because older adults have a weaker immune system, they need to avoid smoking. Smoking has also been considered a major risk factor for heart attacks and heart disease.
4. Regular Check-Ups and Screening
It is important to be fully aware of what is happening in your body as you age. As we age, we tend to be at risk for neurodegeneration which includes dementia. Regular check-ups will help you identify the problem earlier and allow you to live longer.
Blood tests are also important as they will look into the risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol. Ensure that your physician is regularly monitoring your blood pressure.
Screening tests are used to find most diseases that do not have any symptoms such as cancer. When these diseases are identified earlier enough, this prevents any further spread to other parts of the body.
5. Stay Socially Active and Connected
Isolation in older adults has increased depression and other mental health illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has not made it any better as most older adults have been in isolation for their safety. Loneliness and social isolation can increase physical health risks for older adults.
However, technology has made it simpler for us to stay in touch with our loved ones even during the pandemic. Even as we start physical interactions, older adults should make a habit of maintaining social connections with their friends and families. Spending quality time with them can help slow cognitive decline and maintain mental fitness.
The use of support groups can also be an effective way to stay connected or using companion care services to stimulate and create contact with the outside world. You can also try new activities, meet new people, or volunteer for a community program or cause.
6. Stress Management Practices
Aging can lead to stress due to the major adjustments one has to make in their life. It can also lead to poor health which results in weight gain/loss, anxiety and depression, and significant impacts on the heart rate and blood flow.
Older adults should get into activities or practices that help them cope or avoid stress triggers. Setting aside time for self-care should be a priority for older adults.
Other stress management practices can include breathing and physical exercises, mindfulness, talking to your doctor or therapist, and spending quality time with your loved ones. Getting involved in hobbies or activities that bring you happiness can also help manage stress.
7. Get Enough Sleep
The role of sleep in mental health is crucial for your health as you age. Not getting enough sleep could result in stress or the build-up of toxins in your body. Studies have found that poor sleep leads to a build-up of the toxic protein, amyloid in the brain which increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Getting into a healthy sleep pattern will reduce the risk of developing depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, and premature death. At least 7 to 9 hours of sleep are recommended for older adults.
8. Take Prescribed Medication
Adults should avoid deviating from the doctor’s prescription, especially for chronic conditions. It is also important to keep your doctor updated on the effect that the medication is having on your body. Sharing this information will allow your doctor to prescribe better medication with little to no side effects.
Avoid substituting your prescribed medication with supplements or multivitamins. If you need to have a supplement or multivitamin, consult your doctor on which ones are safe. Most seniors find it challenging to manage multiple medications, you can always use the services of a caregiver to help in medication management and administration.
Alongside your medication, ensure you are eating a balanced diet, practicing self-care, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
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