Aging by definition is a progressive change related with the passing of time. Physiological changes that transpire with age will change your lifestyles in your 60s to 80s. There will be restrictions and cautions. But there’s a lot of things that you can do to improve longevity and health and reduce your risk for mental and physical disability as you grow old.
It’s not a secret that a regular physical activity and a well-balanced diet are vital components of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. But for adults over 60, staying active and eating well yields remarkable impact on the quality of life and even life expectancy. They’re the true elixir of life – not the one that impedes aging, but the one that helps your grandma and grandpa age with grace.
The True Elixir of Life
According to the last census, the generation of baby boomers (1946-1964), accounted for 22.9% of the US’ population. This group grows at a rapid rate compared to the generation under age 45. Fortunately, aging is now different compared to the time of our parents and grandparents.
Today, more people live longer than any other time in history. Baby boomers will inflate to more than 70 million by 2030. According to Dr. Arthur Hayward, clinical lead physician and geriatrician for Kaiser Permanente, the boomers whose generation equates with social change including anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s, fights for another cause – and that is to stay healthy.
Dr. Hayward adds that we need to promote healthy living and try our best to stay healthy and active for the rest of our lives. So can you give yourself the chance to live a healthier life in your senior years? Although you can’t control every factor that affects health as you grow old, the answers are actually in your hands. Check them out below.
A lot of studies already show the positive correlation between exercise and longevity and health outcomes of seniors. According to the study, the journal circulation published in the American Heart Association’s, simple exercises such as walking reduces the risk of heart rhythms and other abnormalities in older adults and enhances cardiac health.
Some seniors with medical conditions avoid vigorous movements because they believe that they should idle to ‘save their strengths.’ This ideology is a false, and it’s even dangerous. The body in nature starts losing muscle mass after the age 30, and for those seniors who don’t work their muscles out, the results may lead to serious health issues.
Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight, prevent or control illness, sleep better, feel better, and reduce stress.
Follow a Balanced-Diet
Preparing wholesome meals is always the challenge among seniors, but it’s not a reason to resort to microwavable and frozen foods. Planning meals ahead can do wonders in this case. Encourage your senior parents or grandparents to make easy nutritious and balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It will improve their chances to eat healthily on a regular basis, which lowers their risk of vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. Many illnesses, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis can be controlled or prevented with exercises and balanced diet.
Smoking causes various disastrous diseases such as lung cancer, bronchitis, heart disease and osteoporosis. These are harmful in every stage of life, even more so in our later years. For instance, osteoporosis is the primary cause of falls among elderly.
Quitting can be difficult, and you may think that you are too old to benefit from it, but it’s a wrong mentality. No matter how old you are, quitting smoking improves longevity, not to mention your health!
Minimize Alcohol Consumption
A glass of beer or wine can be beneficial but drink with limitation, especially when you are older. Uncontrolled alcohol intake affects memory and concentration, increases the likelihood of a fall and may lead to depression. It can also cause liver damage and osteoporosis.
The primary reason why excessive alcohol intake is more of a problem for older people is due to physical changes along with its limitations. These changes lessen your tolerance to alcohol. What you can do is exercise. It doesn’t need to be grueling, just something which gives your heart a workout like jogging.
Stay Mentally Fit
Memory lapses and problems with remembering things are natural parts of aging. Our minds slow down as we grow old. However, it’s not the case for everyone. Some people experience memory decline in their early or late fifties, but others remain mentally sharp up to their eighties.
You still have the ability to acquire knowledge and learn new things in your senior years, but it may take a bit longer to do so. There are still a lot of older people who use mobile phones and the Internet. It takes time for them to learn how but they still learn – that’s the point.
Other activities such as quizzes and crosswords are good avenues to give your brain a much needed mental workout.
One the essential things you can do to stay fit and healthy in your golden years is to keep your sense of purpose through constant communication with people who matter to you. However, it’s not always easy, especially in a society that views older people as a burden. If you’re a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a relative who’s fit enough to help, it doesn’t hurt to offer a helping hand!
Visit your local senior centers who are assisting elderly. Spend time with a family member, relative, friend or neighbor on a daily basis. Join a club, take up a new hobby, volunteer in your community or attend a local event. Socialize whenever you get the chance.
Get Regular Vision, Dental and Hearing Check-Ups
Most people at the age of 50 experienced vision changes which includes a gradual decline in the ability to focus on close objects and see small print. Common eye problems will also occur such as glaucoma and cataracts. Loss of hearing and the ability to hear clearly are also common occurrences with aging, most of which is due to overexposure to loud noise.
Your teeth and gums will last a lifetime (unless you’re wearing dentures) if you take oral hygiene seriously. It means regular brushing and flossing and having regular dental checkups. Just because you’re in your seniority doesn’t mean you’ll neglect your oral health for granted.
Seniors can truly benefit from physical activity and healthy habits. Health and lifestyle routines are vital factors across all lifespans. Activities are adjustable to accommodate age, ailments and conditions and physical restraints, all forms of exercises and lifestyle are welcome, so long as it contributes to the overall wellness of the body and improves the quality of life.