As you age, you gain more wisdom, have better control healthier living over your emotions, make better decisions, and become better problem solvers. You also start to see the world in a different light. No longer is everything about you, but now you see things from a more global perspective. You become more interested in the world around you and finally find your place in it.
Now that you’re a senior, you can enjoy your life to the fullest. You can spend ample time with your loved ones, travel to new places, learn new things, and make a difference in your community.
But is it just the good things that change as you age?
Unfortunately, not all changes are for the better. As you age, your body starts to wear down. You don’t heal as quickly as you used to, your vision and hearing begin to decline, you lose your strength and agility, and you become more susceptible to disease.
While you cannot prevent aging, you can do things to slow down the process and stay healthy as you age. It doesn’t matter if you lived a sedentary lifestyle in your younger years. It’s never too late to start making healthier choices that will impact the quality of your later years.
Here are the top eight things you can do to live a healthy lifestyle as an older adult:
Get regular checkups and screenings
You might not feel sick, but that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for developing health problems. As you age, getting regular checkups and screenings for conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and more is essential.
Suppose you’re a veteran who lived or worked near asbestos mines or natural deposits. In that case, you might be at risk for mesothelioma if you worked in the construction industry or served in the military. Doctors can use prognosis data to help you receive the benefits and care and provide you with the best options for treatment.
Also, have your eyes checked at least once a year and your hearing checked every three years or as needed.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating healthy isn’t just for kids. What you eat significantly impacts your health, especially as you get older. A diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, and prevent or control many chronic diseases.
You should also limit your intake of sugar and salt (sodium). Too much sugar intake can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. Consuming salt in excess is bad for your blood pressure and doesn’t do your heart any favors.
Keep yourself hydrated
Water is essential for our well-being. Every tissue, cell, and organ in your body depends on water to function adequately. That means staying hydrated is critical, especially in your senior year.
There are many benefits to drinking water:
- Reduces your risk of heart disease
- Maintains healthy blood pressure
- Keeps your skin healthy
- Prevents kidney stones
- It helps in losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight
- It helps avoid constipation
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men consume 3.7 liters (about 15.5 cups) of fluids daily and women consume 2.7 liters (about 11.5 cups) daily. But that includes all fluids, not just water. So if you’re drinking other beverages throughout the day, you may not need to drink as much water. Just make sure you’re getting enough fluid overall.
Get active and stay active
Regular physical activity does more than keep your weight down. It can help improve your balance and coordination. It strengthens your heart and bones, helps control blood sugar levels, and eases joint pain.
Now, you don’t need to lift weights or run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week can improve your health and work wonders for your mood and outlook.
You can take a brisk walk, ride your bike to run errands, or take a few stairs instead of going on the elevator. And once you get moving, it’s easier to keep going. You’ll feel your energy level rise, your strength and endurance increase, and the newly found sense of accomplishment will add to your overall well-being.
Manage your stress
Stress is a part of your life. You cannot avoid it, but you can manage it in a way that doesn’t affect your health.
Stress is caused by the hormone cortisol, released when you feel threatened or under pressure. When cortisol levels are high, your blood pressure and heart rate go up, and your immune system is suppressed. There are many ways to manage stress, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and social support. You can also try to avoid stressful situations when possible.
Get enough sleep
As your age progresses, your sleep patterns may change. These changes can be caused by physical and medical conditions and lifestyle choices. You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or wake up feeling unrested.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are several things you can do to improve your sleep quality and promote healthy sleep habits.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Create a bedtime routine
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake before bed
- Limit exposure to bright screens before bed
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool
- Try relaxation techniques before bedtime
- Get up and move during the day
These tips can help you get the quality sleep you need to feel rested and rejuvenated.
Look after your skin, hair, and nails
Skin starts getting thinner and less elastic as you age. You may also notice changes in your skin’s texture, tone, and color. These changes are a normal part of aging, but you can keep your skin looking its best by:
- Wearing sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days
- Moisturizing regularly
- Exfoliating your skin
- Using makeup and other products suited for your skin type
You will start seeing aging spots and wrinkles if you don’t care for your skin. Hair follicles also shrink with age, leading to thinner, weaker hair. You must take care of your hair just like you would your skin.
- Wash your hair regularly
- Condition your hair
- Don’t overdo it with styles that require tight braids or chemicals
Additionally, keep your nails clean and trim them regularly. Avoid using harsh nail polish removers, and give your cuticles a little TLC.
Take care of your feet
While you look after your skin, hair, and nails, don’t forget your feet!
- Show them some love by washing them every day and drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Exfoliate your feet regularly to remove dead skin
- Moisturize your feet to prevent cracking, dryness, and calluses
- Wear socks and shoes that fit well and support your feet
- Check your feet regularly for any cuts, bruises, swelling, or redness.
Consult a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Feet problems can quickly become serious health concerns if they’re not treated properly.
Seniors are often more susceptible to health problems, so taking extra care of your overall health and well-being is crucial. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and ensuring a good night’s sleep are critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, taking care of your skin, hair, and nails and checking your feet can help prevent any potential health problems. By following these tips, you can live a healthier, happier life well into your senior years.