11 Tips for Caring for Your Health As You Age

Getting older is inevitable. There are many ways that you can strive towards staying healthy and active as you age.

As you age, your body undergoes many changes, and you have to adjust your lifestyle choices for healthier aging. This involves being careful about what you eat and drink, engaging in physical activities, and getting enough sleep.

11 Tips for Caring for Your Health As You Age
The best ways to live a healthy lifestyle as you get older come naturally. Image/Pixabay

Read on for more tips for caring for your health as you age.

1. Quit smoking

No matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking, smoking cessation will improve your overall health.

According to a SmokeFree.gov report, quitting smoking lowers cholesterol, improves blood circulation, reduces the chances of contracting lung diseases, cancer, heart attack, bronchitis, and stroke, boosts the immune system, and enables the development of stronger muscles and bones.

According to a recent study, current smokers among women aged 60 to 74 and men 55 to 74 had three times higher chances of dying within a six-year follow-up time frame than non-smokers.

Be sure to engage in regular exercise to deal with smoking withdrawal symptoms and cravings. You could also ask your physician about smoking-cessation aids and programs if you struggle to quit smoking on your own.

2. Reduce your alcohol consumption

If you are alcohol dependent, you should consider avoiding or limiting your intake.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dietary guidelines, women should limit their alcohol intake to one drink a day while men take two drinks a day. This improves heart health and prevents accelerated aging associated with heavy alcohol consumption.

Consult a mental health professional or speak to your therapist if you need help with alcohol consumption or substance abuse.

Alternatively, find and join a support group for seniors with alcohol or substance abuse problems.

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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

3. Consume a healthy diet

Consuming a healthy balanced diet is essential for boosting your energy levels, combating illnesses, and maintaining good health.

Ensure that you eat lots of fruits and vegetables to provide the body with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body cells from damage, enabling you to stay healthy.

Other foods you should include in your everyday diet include:

  • Lean proteins like beans and fish
  • A minimum of three ounces of whole-grain rice, bread, pasta, or cereals
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, including cheese, milk, and yogurt

Be sure to limit the consumption of fatty or sugary foods as they often lower your body’s immune system and cause inflammation. You should also avoid cooking using solid fats. Reducing your salt intake is also an effective way to keep your blood pressure down.

If you are experiencing difficulties shopping for groceries and preparing healthy meals, you should consider enrolling in Riverview Retirement Community. This assisted living community provides three tasty meals tailored to your daily nutrition needs.

4. Maintain good dental hygiene

Failing to take care of your teeth does not only age your smile. It also increases the chances of contracting gum diseases, often linked to heart diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, bacterial pneumonia, and strokes. Ensure that you brush at least twice a day, and floss once a day. This removes food pieces and plaques in between the teeth. If you wear any dentures, ensure that you clean them regularly.

Along with maintaining proper dental hygiene, visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can identify early signs of infections, nutritional deficiency, and illnesses like diabetes and cancer and recommend the best care.

5. Manage stress

Stress is a part of everyone’s life and develops in different forms. A job promotion, birth of a grandchild, or difficult circumstances such as the death of a spouse, family member, or friend, can result in stress.

Stress causes premature aging and wrinkles and makes you more vulnerable to heart diseases, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. For this reason, you should learn how to manage stress to stay healthy as you age.

The following are effective ways of reducing stress:

  • Create reasonable expectations of yourself
  • Engage in more physical activities
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Explore relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises
  • Speak to a friend or therapist
  • Join a support group

6. Take your medications as prescribed by your physician

No matter how many prescriptions your doctor may have prescribed, you must take them as directed to combat illnesses. However, ensure that you ask for a medication review every once in a while to determine whether or not specific prescriptions are still helpful.

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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

You could also consult a pharmacist to gain more information on your medications, side effects, and interactions.

As some people age, they may become more forgetful, which makes managing multiple prescriptions difficult. You may forget when to take certain medicines and administer them, increasing the risks of adverse drug reactions, overdosing, and drug-to-drug interaction.

For this reason, you could consider enrolling in an assisted living facility for medication administration and assistance.

7. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness entails self-acceptance and living in the present. Practicing mindfulness can reduce stress levels, improve emotional reaction and focus, boost immune functioning, enhance memory and lead to better relationships. Consider engaging in yoga, meditation, coloring, and tai chi to practice mindfulness.

8. Drink plenty of water

Apart from consuming a healthy diet, you should drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. You could add cilantro, mint, lemons, oranges, or cucumber slices to make your water more refreshing.

Drinking enough water improves your brain’s functions, boosts your energy levels, keeps your skin healthy, and reduces the signs of aging.

Other benefits of drinking a lot of water include:

  • Enhanced recovery and agility
  • Elimination of waste from the muscles
  • Improved overall physical performance
  • Maintained blood pressure

9. Take care of the skin

The skin is the largest organ in your body, so it is vital that you treat it with care. Taking care of your skin enables it to regulate the body temperatures, protect the body from external elements and give you sensation. The following are effective ways to keep your skin functioning and looking its best:

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Schedule annual skin cancer screening
  • Wear protective gear and sunscreen when leaving the house
  • Invest in gentle products for your anti-aging skin care routines

10. Get enough sleep

Getting enough good night’s sleep is vital to your mental and physical health. It lowers the chances of contracting heart diseases, obesity, and stroke, enhance concentration and focus, reduces stress levels and depression, and reduces inflammation. Unfortunately, as you age, you often develop trouble falling or staying asleep, which leaves you feeling exhausted and grumpy.

Consider creating a bedtime schedule and routine, avoiding alcohol and caffeine in the evenings, limiting your daytime naps to twenty minutes, and keeping the bedroom dark to help you fall and stay asleep. You could also consult your physician if you often experience acute insomnia to evaluate the cause of your problem and get advice on the possible solution.

11. Keep physically active

According to a Medline plus report, engaging in regular exercise contributes to improved cognitive function, boosts balance, and improves mood by reducing the feeling of depression and anxiety.

Exercising also plays a crucial role in managing chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, colon and breast cancer, and diabetes.

You do not even have to engage in vigorous or strenuous physical activities to care for your health as you age. Stretching, walking, gardening, strength training, biking, swimming, minimal impact aerobics, or even taking the stairs can help you remain physically fit.

For the best results, the CDC recommends that you dedicate at least 150 minutes every week to physical exercise.

Read Next6 Tips To Help Your Kid With Autism Socialize

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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Endnote

It is never too late to make wise lifestyle choices to strengthen your immune system and reduce the probability of contracting illnesses.

Quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, manage stress, get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, exercise, and take your medications as prescribed by your doctor to care for your health as you age.

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Lisa Abbay, RDN, LDN, FAND

Lisa is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she majored in Food, Nutrition, & Dietetics & later received her RDN/LDN.

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