Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Tips For Healthy Aging
Thanks to advancements in medicine, life expectancies have risen over the last few decades, with the average American now living to 77 years of age. No matter how old you are, leading a healthy lifestyle can prevent premature death and help you remain active and independent as you age. Follow these tips for healthy aging to support health and well-being as you grow older.
Staying Active As We Age
As we age, our energy levels often decrease, making it challenging to find the motivation to exercise. However, pushing through the fatigue and staying active can lead to enormous health benefits by:
- Assisting with weight management
- Improving mood
- Promoting strong bones and muscles
- Enhancing sleep
- Reducing risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that seniors get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week and perform muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice weekly. Moderate intensity exercise doesn't have to mean hitting the gym. Seniors can take brisk walks, play a sport, swim, or even dance to stay active.
Fitness classes can make exercise more fun. Many gyms, community centers, and senior centers offer them year-round or as special events for the annual observance of National Senior Health and Fitness Day in October.
Keeping Up with Regular Medical Appointments
Medical problems become more likely to occur as we age, and the key to managing them is often getting treatment early. If you develop a serious condition like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, ongoing medical care can significantly reduce your risk of health complications. As a result, seniors should attend all follow-up and check-in appointments that their doctors recommend. Healthy seniors should also visit their doctors for check-ups at least once every two years.
Eating a Well-Balanced Diet
Some seniors experience a loss of appetite or are hesitant to cook healthy meals because of the time involved or because they live on their own. Although this is understandable, turning to frozen dinners packed with sodium and consuming fast processed foods can undermine efforts to stay healthy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has devised the My Plate approach to nutrition to make eating healthy easier at any age. To follow it:
- Fill half of your dinner plate with fruits and vegetables.
- Put whole grains in one fourth and then keep lean protein in the other fourth.
- Use healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats sparingly and add one low-fat dairy product to each meal if you wish.
Seniors who struggle to eat well can talk to their doctors about supplements and meal replacements.
Maintaining Social Connections
Isolation is a serious concern for seniors. Being alone can contribute to depression and anxiety and could put seniors in a dangerous position if they get sick or have an accident. Maintaining social connections by joining organizations and attending community activities and events can help support mental health and ensure that older adults have someone looking out for them. Seniors can also make connections through social media like Facebook.
Getting Enough Rest
Sleep is essential to health and well-being at any age. While sleeping, your body repairs cells, and your immune system fights off germs. People who don't get enough sleep may be at an increased risk for various medical conditions, including obesity and heart disease. People aged 61 to 64 need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and after the age of 65, you should strive to sleep for seven to eight hours nightly.
Importance of Joint Health & Mobility
Joint mobility is a serious concern for seniors. Osteoarthritis is the number one cause of disability in seniors and affects 70 to 90 percent of people over 75. Individuals who suffer from reduced joint mobility are at an increased risk for serious fall accidents and may not be able to continue living in their own homes due to their difficulties safely navigating their homes.
When you consider what arthritis can do to seniors, it's easy to understand why so many people wonder how to keep joints healthy as you age. Exercise and diet can both help, and often, medical professionals recommend joint health supplements for added support.
Many products are marketed as joint health supplements, making it challenging to decide which to choose. Seniors should be on the lookout for ones that contain proven ingredients, such as elastin and collagen. Taking elastic and collagen for joints helps supply the body with building blocks for cartilage to counteract the wear and tear caused by osteoporosis. Although collagen and elastic supplements like Body Kitchen Pro-Elastin and Body Kitchen Collagen Enrich can't cure arthritis, they may ease its symptoms and support joint health when taken as directed.
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