Many people equate aging with a rapid deterioration of health and physical abilities. The concept of an older adult is a person who sits around the house every day, takes a considerable number of prescription medications and has numerous aches and pains.
While this may be an assumption that many people have, the reality is that today’s seniors are often healthy and active. More than that, they have a longer lifespan than previous generations had. Health and longevity do not simply happen, however.
You must work hard to promote your health throughout your entire life, including in your older years. By taking steps to remain healthy and vibrant, you can improve your quality of life and even extend your lifespan in some cases.
Exercise Regularly With Low-Impact Activities
Getting regular exercise is an exceptional and essential way to maintain physical health. However, high-impact physical activities are not always safe for older adults to do. For example, the impact on your joints can be severe, and there may be a higher risk of injury. Plica syndrome is one of many joint-related conditions that could develop. If you are injured, your physical and mental health alike may deteriorate while you recover.
A smart idea is to forego high-intensity workouts. Instead, focus on incorporating low-impact activities into your daily routine. For example, this may include 30 minutes of yoga poses in the morning to get your blood flowing, and it may include another 30 minutes of walking at a reasonable pace in the afternoon or evening. When weather permits, take your activities outdoors. The fresh air and sunshine can invigorate you while you exercise.
Focus on Healthy Eating
Your diet is also an important factor to hone in on. Regardless of what your diet has been throughout your life up to this point, you can and should make healthy changes. Spend time reading a few books on nutrition and proper senior diets. In some cases, improving your diet can ward off developing health issues, or they may improve existing conditions.
Eliminating processed foods and eating natural foods is always a smart idea. You may find that you enjoy spending time shopping for natural, organic foods. Preparing new recipes can also enrich your life and keep you active around the house.
Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Seniors may have trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons, but getting ample, high-quality sleep is critical for physical and mental health. Create a regular bedtime routine that fosters adequate sleep each night. Improve your sleeping environment by adjusting the temperature, using ambient noise and more.
Getting up at the same time each day may be just as important as going to bed at the same time each night. Set an alarm to sound at a reasonable hour. Avoid taking catnaps in the middle of the day. Napping can interfere with your ability to sleep well at night.
Explore New Interests
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Older adults often feel confined to their home, and they can easily get bored and lonely. This is damaging to your mental health, and it is entirely preventable.
There may be many activities that you may have wanted to do earlier in life that you never got around to, or you may have developed new interests recently. Some interests can be enjoyed in your own home, such as painting, drawing, reading or writing. You can also take a class on cooking, dancing, quilting, golf or something else. Even taking mini-trips to nearby locations that you have not yet explored can add excitement and a sense of adventure to your life.
Some older adults spend most of their time at home alone waiting for family members to pay them a visit. This is a lonely way to live, and it is entirely unnecessary. Reach out to neighbors and friends who live close by. They could join you on a walk or an outing to a museum.
You could even take a class together to remain social. Senior activities centers are another great way to meet people and to interact with others who you may share common interests with. Even if you cannot drive any longer, remember that ride sharing services and senior transportation services are available to help you get around.
Improve the Safety of Your Environment
As you get older, your sense of balance and coordination may decline. You may also have trouble with mobility and vision. These are all factors that could increase your risk of injury at home. Spend time analyzing your environment to identify risk factors. For example, if you regularly walk down a dark hallway on your way to bed each night, install a plug-in light in the hallway to illuminate the space.
You may also ask a family member to install a handrail in the bathroom for improved mobility. These are only a few of the many steps that you can take to improve the safety of your environment. Each potential risk factor should be properly addressed. Remember that your abilities may decline as you advance in age. You should revisit your efforts periodically to make further improvements to your environment as your abilities change.
Get Regular Health Exams
Another critical step to take to maintain or even to improve your health later in life is to schedule regular health exams. A physical with your general practitioner should be completed annually. You may also need screening exams related to some types of cancer, diabetes and more.
Listen to your doctor’s recommendations regarding recommended screening services. In addition, follow your doctor’s specific advice regarding diet, exercise and sleep. Your doctor’s recommendations will trump any advice that you read online or in books.
Staying healthy later in life requires effort, but the results will be worthwhile. You may find that you feel more vibrant and happy. You may even be able to prevent or eliminate the onset of serious health conditions. Each of these tips is important in a unique way, so spend time adjusting your lifestyle and habits to incorporate all of them into your life.