Your health will likely change as you age, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience if you approach it with an open mind and a positive attitude.
Eat Well, Exercise Properly
Those are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle at any age, but they’re especially important as you get older. Eating a balanced diet lowers your risk of developing conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis.
The Mediterranean diet is an example of a well-balanced meal plan that’s low in saturated fat and sugar. It emphasizes these foods:
- Fruits like apples, oranges, strawberries, bananas, melon and peaches
- Vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, peas, bell peppers, radishes and carrots
- Nuts and seeds
- Moderate amounts of protein, including eggs, fish and poultry
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week and strength training twice a week. Partake in exercise you enjoy, so your workout doesn’t feel like work.
Exercise has been proven to:
- Improve mood and reduce negativity
- Help manage chronic health conditions
- Improve balance and mobility
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Support good sleep habits
Work with Your Doctor
Sticking to your appointment schedule is an essential part of healthy aging. Regular visits to your primary care physician, dentist, eye doctor and other specialists will allow your healthcare professionals to catch and treat minor issues before they become serious problems.
Share your medical and family health history with your doctors so they can schedule appropriate screenings and tests for conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
And take your medicine as prescribed. Following your doctor’s orders will help you manage long-term conditions and symptoms.
Studies have shown that regular social interaction may improve cognitive function. Staying socially engaged keeps your mind sharp because you’re providing stimulation to different parts of your brain, including the areas responsible for speech and language, problem-solving and memory recall.
Visiting family and friends is a good way to stay connected and have fun. You can also get socially involved in your community by volunteering, attending religious services or joining groups or clubs that share your interests.
Eliminate Tobacco and Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Cutting out nicotine lowers your cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate and seriously reduces your risk for developing cancer. There are over-the-counter products, including gum, patches and lozenges, that can help you kick the habit.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol presents a serious set of health risks, too. Alcohol can cause heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive issues and cancer. It also weakens your immune system and can create alcohol dependency. Limit your drinking based on your age, weight and whether you take certain medications.