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The journey to old age can be exciting, if not bumpy. As you grow older, your body undergoes many changes that some may find negative and others positive; however, it is important for us all to keep our health in mind when navigating through this rewarding period of life.
Here are some tips you can do to keep yourself healthy as you age
Stay physically active
Keeping an active body by way of exercise is a great way to combat or slow the effects of aging. Exercising can keep your joints and muscles in tone, which will give you more mobility as you age. Physical activities also help keep your balance and improve your mood. According to studies, activities increase the happy hormones, which positively affect mood. Additionally, exercise contributes to increased cognitive function and memory, delaying or reducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is also important to note that exercising helps manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, some types of cancer, and osteoporosis.
Doing physical activities such as brisk walking for about 30 minutes a day is recommended to keep yourself active. If this is not possible, you can do staggering activities throughout the day. According to the CDC, any activity is better than none.
Eat healthy foods, and avoid unhealthy ones.
Healthy foods are those considered whole, fresh, and low in fat. Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and white meat. Eat less high-fat foods such as butter, high-fat milk, pork, and lard. Avoid salty, sugary, and pre-packed foods as much as possible.
Whole-grain foods and vegetables are good sources of fiber which helps with digestion. As people age, gastric motility reduces and increases the risk of constipation. Eating high-fiber foods will help you prevent this. In addition, fiber also helps eliminate cholesterol which also has positive effects on staying healthy.
Drink plenty of water
The benefits of drinking water couldn’t be overly stressed. It helps flush out toxins, keep the person hydrated, lubricate the joints, and prevent constipation and mood changes. Drinking water also hydrates the skin. The recommended water intake is about eight glasses per day, but drinking a little more extra can help even further.
Avoid or reduce alcohol and smoking.
The harmful effects of smoking and alcohol are both well known. They can cause premature aging to increase the risk for disease but also have other side effects such as reduced lung function.
For those who have been drinking and smoking for a long time, quitting may not be easy. You can start by enrolling in a rehabilitation program to aid in the process of weaning. If it is totally impossible to quit, reducing your intake can still be a big help.
Maintain social connections
Interacting with family and friends can have numerous benefits on staying healthy. One article, published in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social sciences this January 2019, found that participants (all over 65) who reported higher levels of social activity were more likely to experience positive moods and less negative feelings as well as perform physical activities at a high level than those reporting lower amounts or no interactions.
To make the most out of your social life, go through old contacts and seek new ones that match what you’re looking for. Join groups related to hobbies or interests; this will give people a reason why they connect with you over other strangers in similar situations.
Get enough sleep
While it is not unusual for people to experience a shift in their sleeping patterns as they age, those shifts can pose problems if they don’t get enough rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults over 65 years old should consume between seven and eight hours of sleep each night; however, this may change depending on your current schedule. If you are experiencing chronic insomnia, speak to your doctor for help in managing it. It will also help if you reduce the use of electronic gadgets up to one hour before sleeping and engage in meditation.
Find new hobbies, or relive the old ones
Aging is the time when you can go back to your old passion or discover new ones. Engaging in these activities can help aging people maintain a sense of purpose and keep the person happy throughout the course of life.
Regularly visit your doctor.
With old age comes many different health conditions that need medical attention. If you are living with a certain medical condition, it is crucial to follow your physician’s advice on your health maintenance activities and follow-up checkups. If you do not suffer from any medical condition, it is still a good idea to have a wellness check for early detection of any medical problem.
While growing older has its challenges, it also has many rewards. As you navigate through the different stages of aging, it is important to focus on your health and well-being. Staying healthy not only means taking care of the body but also the mind.
If you need assistance during old age, we can help. Contact us at Maplewood Sauk Prairie Health and Rehabilitation Center for more information.