Keeping Healthy and Active
In the last census baby boomers, those 65+, accounted for 13% of the population. Aging is different now than it was for our parents and grandparents. Today, there are more people living longer than at any other time in our history. Baby boomers will number 78 million by 2030. More senior adults have made an important decision, to keep healthy and remain active.
Many might find themselves asking, how do I do this? Consider these tips for staying healthy and active.
Things to Consider for Staying Healthy and Active
1.) Avoid Smoking
Smoking kills by causing cancer, strokes, and heart failure. Avoiding smoking can also lower your risk of diabetes as well as lung damage. If you currently smoke, there are many resources available to help you quit. You can always discuss how best to accomplish this goal with your doctor.
2.) Keep Active
Keeping physically active can help offset many of the effects of aging. Decide what you will do daily to keep fit. Choose something you enjoy that maintains strength, balance, and flexibility and promotes cardiovascular health. Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight, control illness, sleep better, reduce stress, and avoid falls. Keeping active for 30 minutes per day, five days a week is a great goal for which to strive.
3.) Eat Well
Combined with physical activity, eating nutritious foods in the correct amounts can help keep you healthy. Many illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, can be prevented or controlled with dietary changes and exercise. To get the nutrition that your body needs, make whole foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat the foundation of your diet.
4.) Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Consider using the BMI (body mass index) calculator to find out what you should weigh for your height. Get to your healthy weight and stay there by eating right and keeping active. Try replacing sugary drinks with water and its calorie free!
5.) Prevent Falls
Sometimes we become vulnerable to falls due to the normal aging process or unexpected health challenges. Prevent falls and injury by removing loose carpets or small decorative rugs. Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter, and use night lights in hallways and bathrooms. Did you know that people who walk barefoot fall more frequently? Wear shoes with good support to reduce the risk of falling.
6.) Keep Your Health Up-to-Date
By age 50, if not before, women should begin mammography screening for breast cancer. Men should be checked for prostate cancer. Many preventive screenings are available. Those who are new to Medicare are entitled to a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and all Medicare members to an annual wellness visit. Use these visits to discuss which preventative screenings and vaccinations are due.
It’s easy to blame a bad mood or fatigue on aging, but oftentimes aging is not the direct cause of these concerns. Feeling constantly exhausted or depressed is not normal at any age. If you’ve lost the energy or desire to engage in activities you once enjoyed, see your doctor for a checkup. You may have a medical problem that needs attention.
7.) Prevent Skin Cancer
As we age, our skin grows thinner; it becomes drier and less elastic. Cuts and bruises take longer to heal. Always protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun can cause skin cancer. Consider discussing with your doctor a sunscreen that works best for you and your lifestyle.
8.) Get Regular Dental, Vision, and Health Checkups
Your teeth will last a lifetime if you care for them properly, daily brushing and flossing and getting regular dental checkups every six months.
By age 50, most people notice changes to their vision, including a gradual decline in the ability to see small print or focus on close objects. Common eye problems that can impair vision include cataracts and glaucoma. Visit your eye doctor annually.
Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise. Make sure to follow your doctor’s directives to determine if you need to see a specialist regarding hearing aids.
9.) Stay Socially Active
Making the effort to interact with family and friends can have numerous benefits for your health. It has been studied and determined that people, over 65, who had higher levels of social activity were more likely to experience more positive moods, fewer negative feelings, and higher levels of physical activity.
If you don’t currently have an active social life, look for opportunities to reconnect with old friends or make new ones. Seek out like-minded people in church groups, volunteer activities, gyms, alumni groups, senior living communities, or any other group that corresponds to an interest of yours.
10.) Manage Stress
Try exercise or relaxation techniques, perhaps meditation or yoga as a means of managing stress. Make time for friends and social activities and don’t forget to have fun. Successful coping can affect your health and how you feel. Learn the role of positive thinking.
11.) Limit Alcohol Your Consumption
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises that alcohol consumption be limited to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Have this discussion with your doctor to determine what is best for you.
12.) Get the Sleep Your Body Needs
Adults over 65 should get between seven and eight hours sleep each night. You may notice that your sleep schedule shifts so that you are sleepier in the early evening and ready to wake up earlier in the morning. This is not unusual, nor does it pose a problem if you continue to get the recommended seven to eight hours per night.
Adding These Tips to your Daily Routine
As you look over these tips, decide which ones you are already doing and which ones you need to consider adding to your daily routine. If you are comfortable, discuss your goals with a friend or neighbor. Your willingness to talk might just help someone else to meet their goals too.
For more great tips on staying healthy and active, The Ohio Masonic Communities is your go to resource. With three locations in Springfield, Waterville, and Medina, OH, their senior living communities offer 24/7 care and support for independent living, assisted living, and memory care. If you and your loved one are interested in senior living, schedule a tour at one of the scenic and beautiful communities. Call (877) 881-1623 today to learn more about their great senior living options.