The events of recent years have emphasized how health is the key to a long life which means taking steps to ensure we are not on the verge of losing it. Many might be unaware that setting the stage for your day-to-day well-being is critical in determining how well you age.
A healthy lifestyle means ensuring you are living life to the maximum and eliminating factors contributing to poor health.
The habits adopted at young age determine the course of an individual’s health for the next 50 or more years.
Undoubtedly, we take our health for granted at a young age, but as we grow old, the importance of maintaining health becomes more apparent.
That is so because with age, aside from several factors, the risk of chronic illnesses increases, which impact various aspects of daily life.
Nothing is more valuable to older adults than their sense of independence which is more likely to be at risk due to poor health. For that reason, maintaining good health is essential to avoid dire circumstances later.
Old age is often considered near the end of life, which is invalid. If we look around us, those at an advanced age perform everyday tasks and even act as caregivers, all because of good health.
Another example is mesothelioma patients who, along with some help from mesotheliomaveterans.org and lifestyle changes, manage to live a healthy life.
All these examples highlight that as long as you are serious about your health, you’re less likely to suffer health-related problems.
The importance of health has been established; now, we will look at some tips that help improve well-being.
1. Physical Activity
Physical activity has several benefits for everyone, irrespective of age, such as improved flexibility, a healthy heart, and stronger bones.
However, exercise is more important for seniors than the younger population because it lowers disease risk, improves mood, and reduces the risk of injury or fall. According to science, we lose 3-5% of muscle mass with age, which impacts our balance and bone strength.
Lack of balance and bone strength ultimately impairs mobility and independence, creating problems for senior citizens and those around them, which is why exercise is essential to prevent incidences.
Exercise also improves psychological well-being, such as cognitive function. Numerous studies have concluded that after weeks of incorporating exercise into the daily routine, brain functions improve, especially those associated with keeping us active and enhancing memory.
Among the key benefits of exercise for seniors, the most prominent are improved wound healing by 25%, increased life expectancy, and prevention of chronic conditions.
As a senior, it is never too late to exercise regularly. All that is required is starting with something easy and working daily to maintain it.
2. Smart food choices
A nutritious diet is a foundation of good health and smart food choices. Senior citizens must choose healthy food choices instead of unhealthy ones to prevent health-related issues common in old age.
Eating healthy is not just about keeping your weight in check; it’s about ensuring that what you eat positively impacts your overall health.
Today, with so many diets, each having different nutritional benefits, it gets confusing to decide what to eat.
However, experts suggest following an eating pattern that requires adding an equal portion of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats to the diet.
For fruits and vegetables, consider 2-3 servings a day, and for veggies, choose antioxidant-rich leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Bone health depends on calcium intake, which means adding milk, cheese, and yogurt to the diet to fulfill the requirement.
Eating different types of protein improves mood and relieves stress and anxiety. Senior citizens must ensure they include an appropriate quantity of protein in their diet.
Ensuring a healthy diet boosts immunity, helps fight various illnesses, enhances mental alertness, and provides energy that uplifts self-esteem.
3. Quit smoking
Many assume that quitting after years of smoking has zero impact on health, but it positively does impact health.
On the other hand, smoking only leads to adverse outcomes, including cancer, lung diseases, and other health problems.
By quitting, you are adding more years to your life, increasing blood circulation, improving your sense of smell and saving money, and setting an example of leading a healthy lifestyle for your children and grandchildren.
As an elder, it might be challenging for you to quit smoking. When faced with such a dilemma, talking to healthcare professionals about over-the-counter prescriptions like nicotine replacement therapy is one route to recovery.
Aside from medications, you can also seek help from support groups to motivate you to quit.
4. Mental health
Mental health impacts overall wellness and quality of life. The older population often gets neglected regarding mental health because of the stigma surrounding age-related issues, which makes these individuals reluctant to seek help.
Among the most common mental issues are depression, anxiety, and stress which physically and socially affect seniors.
As you grow old, lack of stability, hearing loss, or loss of friends or family makes it difficult to make new or maintain old social connections. It eventually ignites feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
Aside from psychological implications, lack of social interaction increases the risk of developing medical conditions like heart disease or suffering from depression or cognitive decline, according to a recent study.
As mentioned, lack of social interaction aggravates feelings of loneliness, so how do we overcome them? Stay connected over the phone or in person with friends or family members to prevent loneliness from creeping up on you.
Additionally, meeting new people by participating in different activities helps make connections and improves mood.
Sleep boosts energy levels and positively impacts the mind and body. Although sleeping 7.5-9 hours is recommended to help people function at their best, senior citizens often don’t get enough sleep for multiple reasons.
Illness, pain, and even some medications make it difficult for the elderly to get quality sleep. Lack of sleep or insufficient sleep is often associated with lifestyle changes in old age, increases the risk of falls, stress, anxiety, and declines in cognitive function.
Though seniors frequently experience sleep issues, a few tips can help older individuals overcome these issues.
For instance, television and mobile phones affect sleep, so move the electronics out of the bedroom to avoid distraction.
Another way of resolving sleep issues is to keep a regular sleep schedule. Make sure you sleep and wake up simultaneously every day while looking for nap durations.
As established, the root cause of living a prolonged and happy life is maintaining health, especially in old age.
Though taking care of overall health is a challenging task, you can start with making minor changes to your daily that gradually adds up to a considerable impact.
The key to defining every aspect of your health is aligned; practice various activities as mentioned daily. Taking steps to achieve better health reduces the risk of developing health-related problems.
Though aging is irreversible, it doesn’t mean you can’t slow down the process with the help of a few tips.
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