5 Ways to Take Charge of Healthy Aging

5 Ways to Take Charge of Healthy Aging

People are now living longer thanks to advances in science and medicine. Many will live with at least one long-term condition. Living as independently as possible for longer is vital for quality of life and staying healthy. Here are five ways to take charge of your destiny and aim high for healthy aging.

1. Make Exercise Your Priority

Exercise is beneficial in a number of ways and keeping active is one of the best ways to stay healthy. Research has shown that regular exercise boosts the immune system in older people. From the mid 20’s people lose around 2-3% of immunity so a daily walk or a regular swim helps boost the immune system to fend off infections as well as maintaining muscle mass and strength. Regular exercise helps bone strength and avoids the hazards of a sedentary lifestyle which is an increasing health hazard. Get into a regular routine by moving more, participating in exercises such as dance, swimming or walking, or even yoga. Use an app like a Fitbit to monitor how much you move so you get into the habit of moving about more and taking short walks.

2. Get Your Diet in Order

Obesity is one of the biggest risks for developing diseases like diabetes or heart problems. Studies have shown the risk of heart disease and diabetes increase tenfold in obese people. It is also linked to developing dementia in old age. As people age, they need fewer calories on a daily basis. Start be eating smaller portions to cut out those extra calories. Avoid processed foods and look for fresh fruit and vegetables to boost your immune system and add fiber to your diet. Check the sugar content of food and minimize your snacking habits and intake of sugary cakes and candy. This can help prevent diabetes and maintain your weight at a healthy level. Make sure  the cupboard has healthy food and is not piled high with sweet treats to tempt you into snacking.

3. Have Regular Check-ups with Your Physician

Many medical problems are treatable these days but they need to be caught early. Having a regular checkup with your physician will help monitor things like blood pressure, vital signs, cholesterol and more. Knowing the signs and symptoms to look for such as unusual lumps, bleeding, and persistent coughing is vital so you can get advice and help from your doctor quickly. The trick with aging is to catch a problem as soon as you can to prevent it impacting on your health. Don’t forget your dental health, maintaining a good brushing and flossing routine, and have regular checks to avoid problems with decay and gum disease. Poor dental health has been shown to have an impact on the development of other diseases in older people.

4. Boost Your Brain Power

There is evidence that keeping mentally fit by exercising your brain is helpful in avoiding dementia in old age. Brains, just like muscle mass in the body, atrophy with time so staying healthier for longer is vital. Keep your brain in good condition by doing crosswords, sudoku, and word searches. Reading and learning a new language are also known to keep the memory active and avoid the onset of dementia. Meditation helps to sharpen the brain by enabling it to relax so start engaging in a few exercises alongside other brain-boosting activities. Doing the math in your head or drawing a map from memory are other good ways of getting a brain workout. A cooking class is great for learning new skills but works out the brain using the senses and cognitive skills.

5. Be Social

Loneliness and social isolation have been found to be a risk factor for depression, dementia, and other diseases. Studies have shown that over 59 percent of people in poor health report loneliness as a significant factor in their lives. As people live apart from their family and friends, the risk of social isolation and loneliness increases. Taking up a new interest or hobby, joining a club, or just getting to know the neighbors all helps to build a social circle. When people are working they have colleagues but once retirement sets in those networks tend to disappear. As part of planning for old age and staying healthy, start building those new networks early. Volunteering is another excellent way of getting involved in society and to keep social. If nothing much is happening in your neighborhood why not start something up to get things moving. There are so many opportunities out there to do something different and connect people.

Taking charge of your health is vital for enjoying a healthy life into your older age.

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