Everyone must deal with the normal, expected changes that come with aging. As we grow older, all of us face the potential of weight gain, developing chronic conditions, loss of sex drive, and memory loss or cognitive changes. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help sustain good health as you age, and even prolong life. Below are some tips for healthy aging that your primary care provider can offer guidance on that may work for you.
1. Stay active
No matter how old you are, exercise can be an important component of a healthy lifestyle. By exercising regularly, you can improve your mood and mobility, and lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases. Taking a walk, swimming, cycling, and jogging are things you can do—based on your level of ability—to stay active.
2. Maintain a social life
The fact that you’re aging doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Isolation invites loneliness, which can be harmful to your mental health. Try to stay in touch with your family and friends and explore recreational groups and associations where you can spend time with other people who share your interests.
3. Don’t take your health for granted
Now more than ever, you need to make your health a priority. Schedule regular checkups with your health care provider and don’t miss follow-up appointments. If you experience any concerning symptoms, it’s best to treat them early before they develop into more significant health issues.
4. Follow a healthy diet
A well-balanced diet will provide your body with the essential nutrients it requires to function properly. To lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, you should reduce your fatty foods intake. Incorporate whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, and low-fat foods into your meal plan. Your primary care provider can refer you to a nutritionist for further guidance and to develop a plan specific to your needs.
5. Limit alcohol and don’t smoke
Excessive alcohol consumption has an immense negative impact on your health, and so does smoking. To protect your lungs, lower your risk of cancer, and protect yourself from other serious conditions such as kidney failure and high cholesterol, you should drink moderately and not smoke.
6. Don’t miss doses of your medications
If your doctor prescribes any medication to you, it’s in your best interest to take them accordingly. Speak to your doctor if you notice any adverse effects or feel like they aren’t working properly. It’s crucial that you and your health provider do a periodic review of your prescriptions to determine which medications are still necessary.
7. Get plenty of sleep
As you age, it’s normal to notice changes in your sleep schedule. Your body requires rest, so try to get the seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you are having trouble sleeping, consult your provider for solutions.
While we all age, and we can’t stop the natural changes that come with getting older, we can take steps to stay healthy as long as possible. By adopting good habits and keeping up with our medical care, we can age healthfully.