What Can I Do to Improve My Overall Health?
In your golden years, you want to have the best health possible in order to enjoy all your plans and loved ones without interruption. Bad health can be a particularly rude interruption, however, and it’s important to take any measure possible that can improve your state of health. To get the most of your life, make it a healthy one—and follow these tips for improving it!
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals are essential to helping your body thrive. Supplementing with a multivitamin is a good idea throughout your life, but especially in this stage of life it can make all the difference. As people grow older, their body is less able to absorb important nutrients from their food as a result of aging and also, at times, the necessary medications they take. With supplements, however, you can still get these important nutrients and reduce bad health as a result of vitamin deficiency. Look for multivitamins for seniors in particular, especially something with vitamin D and vitamin B12, and consult with your doctor if necessary!
Get Regular Check-Ups
Like getting an automobile checked by a mechanic on a yearly basis, your body is a machine that needs regular check-ups, no matter how uncomfortable. The unfortunate truth is, nearly 92% of seniors have a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or stroke, so checking with your doctor at least annually for these problems can help you to get care faster and mitigate the problems quicker. Your doctor can also give advice on how to avoid diets and lifestyles that will increase your chances of such diseases, especially if you ask your doctor essential questions along the way. Though it can feel at times like bad news waiting to happen, getting a routine check-up simply is a necessary evil.
Care for Your Skin
Did you know skin diseases are pretty common in older adults? In general, aged skin is prone to bruising and injury, as well as small, dilated blood vessels that begin to appear over a process of time. With lots of exposure in past years to the sun, however, you may also experience dark blotches, discoloration of the skin, and even skin cancer. Dermatologists can help you treat a variety of conditions that range from annoying to serious concerns, especially as you get new moles and need to check if they are dangerous. Skin cancer specifically can often be removed if caught in its early stages, so it’s worth the effort. On your own, regularly check for any new moles or strange spots on your body, and of course make sure to moisturize and wear lots of sunscreen!
Be Physically Active
Though the prime of youth may seem like the best time to be moving about all the time, it is just as essential for seniors to stay active and not become stagnant as it is for someone in the prime of youth. The health benefits are enormous—physical activity reduces a senior’s risk of cancer, diabetes, dementia, and stroke, to name a few. Interestingly, an active senior will also tend to recover from illness and injury faster, and fall less often. While exercise in younger years maybe more about speed and strength, however, exercise for seniors should be more aerobic and also include stretching and activities that practice balance. Doctors recommend at least 2 and a half hours of aerobic movement a day, so it’s time to get on your feet!
Watch What You Eat
For some people, watching what they eat seems to have mattered little through the years—for others, they’ve been worried about dieting all their lives. Whatever your body type is, however, as a senior there still should be a heightened awareness of what foods you’re eating as you reach a stage where your body is more vulnerable. The foods to avoid? Salt, which can give seniors problems with high blood pressure, sugar for very obvious reasons, and saturated fat. And, you’ve probably guessed it, the foods with the most fiber and nutrients are vegetables and fruits, along with beans, nuts, and whole grains. Things like yogurt and kimchi can also improve your gut health, an essential part of your body’s function, so make sure you’re getting enough probiotics.
Wash Your Hands
Unfortunately, the older the body grows, the weaker its defense systems become. The body stops producing as many T cells as it ages, and the ones you do have won’t communicate as well with each other. Your body makes less white blood cells as well, which can slow down healing so that you feel sick for longer. For these reasons, seniors are considered to have lower immune systems—so you are much more vulnerable to any germs or viral diseases from surfaces at home and in public spaces. All this to say, the importance of washing your hands only gets more important the older you grow! And not simply running your hands under water for a few seconds with a smidgen of soap. Wash for at least 20 seconds, and make sure you’re doing it at least 6 times, though 10 is better!
Do What Makes You Happy
Did you know that being happy seems to actually reduce your risk of coronary heart disease? Feeling happy is also associated with longer life, protection against hypertension, and in general a lower propensity to catch colds. Positive emotions are stronger than you think, so don’t just live out your golden years stressing yourself out. Surround yourself with good things that bring you happiness, and do the things that promote hopefulness, enthusiasm, and a full engagement in life. Your physical health will, believe it or not, increase as you also focus on your mental health!
Day by day, the decisions you make will affect your body and mind as you enter your golden years. Whether you are just entering senior age or are a seasoned veteran, there are steps you can take right now to improve your overall health. You may not be able to control everything, but you can take preventative measures to enjoy what life still has in store for you!
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