If you’re feeling great now and you’re healthy – that’s obviously fantastic. This is a great time to take stock of your health. Turn your thoughts to making sure you improve your quality of life, for as long as possible.
Here are a few possible ways you can continue to live your best life, no matter your age.
Preparing For Changes
Even if you exercise, take part in social activities and enjoy happiness, this is no time to rest on your laurels. You’ve done a great job of taking care of yourself, and you can continue to do so by focusing on reducing risk factors for certain health issues.
While taking health precautions is important at all ages, it becomes especially important for older adults. Let’s take a look at some of the things you might be able to do to protect your physical health as well as your mental health.
The importance of exercise stays consistent as we age and it’s never too late (or too early) to begin a regular fitness routine. By doing so, you can not only support healthy muscle mass, flexibility, and mobility, but you might also be able to avoid certain health issues down the road.
Finding activities you love – whether that means jogging, lifting weights or simply walking around the neighborhood at a brisk pace – will help ensure you continue your routine in the long run.
Keep Your Metabolism Going
As you get older your metabolic rate may begin to slow. This, in turn, can lead to a lack of energy. Some people may also easily gain weight as a result – and this can be an incredibly difficult cycle to break. Establishing an exercise program and eating healthy can support a healthy metabolism.
Whole grains, fish, fruits, and vegetables are a few of the foods that support a healthy metabolism. If you have a sweet tooth, try to cut out sugar and use sweeteners like swerve or monk fruit. If you can’t cut out sugar completely, try to reduce your intake or even use a more natural sugar such as maple syrup. Lay off soda and other “empty” calorie beverages that could slow metabolism and make you feel sluggish.
It will be important, however, that you keep an eye on your dairy intake. As many of us get older, our bodies don’t do as good a job of producing an enzyme known as lactase. This enzyme makes it possible for us to digest dairy products.1
Talk to your doctor to see if you need to cut back on dairy products like milk and ice cream.
Protect Your Bones
If you’ve maintained a routine of physical activity over the years, congratulations. You’ve done a lot to keep your bones and joints in great shape. This could pay off in a big way as the years go by.
Our cartilage tends to wear down in our old age. We also don’t have as good a supply of fluid to lubricate our joints. The muscles also get weaker. All of these combine to put us at a higher risk of bone fractures. Strength training can make your muscles strong, which in turn, can help support your bones and reduce that risk.2
Maintain Your Heart Health
This is a perfect time to take the steps necessary to protect your cardiovascular health.
Some seniors are at a high risk of developing problems due to the thickening of the walls of the heart. They also experience stiffening of the valves that supply blood to the heart. The actions you take now might help you avoid these issues.3
Reduce Your Stress
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It’s anything but easy, but it’s important for your overall health to reduce stress as much as possible.
Some people might turn to alcohol or “comfort food” when dealing with stress. But this could actually worsen stress levels rather than eliminate them. The same goes for smoking. If you smoke, stop. Nicotine is a stimulant, and may actually make you even more stressed out.
Study relaxation techniques and put them into practice. Don’t be afraid to say “no” sometimes when people’s demands are unreasonable. Last but not least, remember that some things are just out of your control.4
If stress is interfering with your quality of life, talk about a professional about healthy ways to manage it.
Talk To Your Doctor Regularly
The best thing you can do to protect your health is to see your primary care physician on a regular basis. This will be especially important in your 50s and beyond.
There are a lot of screening tests available. These tests will tell you if you’re at risk for certain health conditions, or if you might be developing a certain health issue. Here are a few of the more common ones.
- Yearly physicals – These are usually scheduled every year or two. They include blood tests, blood pressure checks, urine tests, and others.
- Dental exams – Your oral health can have an impact on your overall well being. Regular checkups can identify dental issues before they become major problems.
- Cholesterol screenings – An excessive accumulation of cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular issues. Regular cholesterol checks can let you know if you might need to make changes to your diet.
- Skin exam – This will let you know if you’re at risk for certain skin issues especially those associated with exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays.
- Vision exams – Vision can change dramatically as we get older. A regular exam will alert you to any problems that might need to be addressed.5
Looking Toward The Future
Becoming a senior doesn’t mean your quality of life has to decrease. There are thousands of people who can stay independent, happy and healthy well into their 80s or even 90s.
Familiarize yourself with some of the care options that will be available to you down the road. You might simply need home aids, such as a walker or wheelchair to get around. Some people benefit from home modifications if they have a loss of mobility.6
Some people have caregivers to help around the home and provide emotional support. There may be an assisted living facility in your community. This provides personal care and services such as physical therapy if needed. These living facilities are for people who don’t need round-the-clock care.
Talk to your doctor about the best ways to support your health in your old age.
Facing The Years Ahead With Confidence
There’s no need to fear or dread getting older as long as you take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. As you prepare for the future, remember this… you can live a healthy life full of happiness and fulfilling activities no matter your age.