Making healthy choices is important throughout your life. The things that you do today affect your health and quality of life in the future. The earlier you work towards wellness the better. However, it’s never too late to start making healthy lifestyle changes. Here are a few things that you can do to promote healthy aging.The secret to healthy aging is being proactive about your health and working towards wellness. This includes staying active, eating right, staying involved in your community, and regular visits with your primary care provider. Click To Tweet
Stay physically active
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28% of adults over 50 are physically inactive. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans states that adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Try a variety of different activities that provide a combination of strengthening, balance, flexibility, and aerobic exercise.
- Stabilization exercises
- Weight lifting
- Resistance bands
- Brisk walking
Talk to your primary healthcare provider if you aren’t accustomed to exercise. Your doctor can help you determine a healthy goal for physical activity.
Stay mentally active
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
- Manage stress and know when to talk to someone about your mental health.
- Try memory exercises such as memorizing poems, songs, or passages from a book.
- There are several apps and games designed to help improve memory and cognitive function.
- Seek activities that engage the brain: crosswords, riddles, puzzles, reading, and stimulating conversation.
Stay socially active
Social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk for health problems such as depression, heart disease, obesity, and cognitive decline. Make a point to stay active in your community and engage in activities with others.
- Seek out community involvement and volunteer opportunities.
- Spend time with family, friends, and neighbors.
- Participate in local events.
Healthy eating can help promote healthy aging. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting the right nutrients helps you stay healthy and improves your quality of life as you get older.
- Know your food groups.
- Understand how to read nutrition labels.
- Choose correct portion sizes.
The National Institute on Aging has some great information to help older adults with healthy eating.
Good quality sleep is critical to good health. The amount of sleep you need each night changes as you get older:
- Adults 18-60 need a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night.
- Adults 61-64 need between seven and nine hours of sleep.
- Those over 65 years of age need between seven and eight hours of sleep.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors
Healthy aging means choosing healthy lifestyle choices in addition to avoiding unhealthy behaviors.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
- Drink in moderation. If you don’t drink, don’t start drinking for potential health benefits.
- Avoid sedentary living. Choose physical activities over sedentary ones.
- Eat fresh foods instead of relying on convenience foods or ultra processed foods.
Schedule wellness exams
Visiting your primary care provider at least once a year is one the most important things that you can do for your health. The risk for developing certain diseases — such as osteoporosis and arthritis — increases with age. Roughly 90% of colorectal cancers are diagnosed in people over the age of 50.
Your doctor can help make sure that you receive the proper medical care that you need:
- Order screenings and tests
- Catch diseases and health problems early on when they are most treatable
- Monitor and treat chronic health conditions
- Help you make the best health decisions based on your individual needs
- Make sure that you are staying in good health