Healthy Aging: The Ultimate Playbook for Older Adults
Living longer and living better are two very different things. Healthy aging isn't just about reaching your golden years in tip-top shape. It's about maintaining a healthy lifestyle that keeps you inspired and yearning. Plus, it's about ensuring you take every step to make the most of it.
Older adults may encounter more health problems as they aged. However, it shouldn't mean you stop making an effort. Looking out for your physical and mental health becomes even more crucial at this point. That's why we're here to help you do just that.
What Does Healthy Aging Mean?
Aging gracefully isn't about looking like a 30-year-old. It's about living a quality life that makes you feel good inside and out. Like a bottle of wine, you can get better as you grow older, as long as you take the proper steps to take care of yourself.
Older adults are at a greater risk for chronic diseases. There's heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, digestive and kidney diseases. Research found that 80% of aging adults have at least one chronic condition while 68% have two or more.
While it helps to find problems early, it's also about seeking prevention from many diseases your age may be more susceptible to. Furthermore, it's finding ways to stay healthy and keeping your doctor within your arm's reach.
Here Are Some Tricks You Can Start Doing Today For Healthy Aging
Life shouldn't stop for older persons. There are many benefits of healthy aging that you can unlock at this age. You could even live your best life with the right support, perspective, and sufficient social and leisure activities.
Keep Your Brain Working
Mentally-stimulating activities like learning a new skill or playing board games help keep your mind sharp. It could also help put you at a lower risk for dementia. Plus, it keeps you excited, allowing you to look forward to each day as it comes.
Research shows that older people are more prone to sleep apnea. The standard advice is to take sleeping pills. However, The American Geriatrics Society experts say that it shouldn't be a one-stop shop. Healthy aging means practicing certain habits that will allow you to sleep better. This can go anywhere from staying physically active to eating a balanced diet at the right time.
Empower Your Body
Older people are more prone to health complications: high blood pressure, unhealthy weight, and other life-threatening diseases like a heart attack. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can help to keep your body in shape and further away from ailing health.
Maintain Pre-Existing Conditions
Overall health among older adults is relative. Some may already live with conditions they must manage as they continue to age. It's important to understand that it's never too late to take care of yourself. Take proactive steps to maintain or even improve your health despite the situation.
Improve Your Overall Well-Being
Researchers found that maintaining healthy habits helps you live longer. Whether it's exercise, staying in touch with your loved ones, or being part of a community, activities boost one's mood, morale, and health.
Tips for Healthy Aging
We at First Day believe in living your life to the fullest, even more as you age. Below are simple ways to look out for your health as you grow older.
Nutrition and diet
Learn how to eat more healthily by following the principles of nutrition. Learn about the diet and lifestyle of vigorous older adults.
1. Know what to eat
Dietary patterns influence just about all functions and systems in your body. You have to be extra careful about what and how much you eat at this point in your life. These are all risk factors for different diseases and conditions you could later on develop.
Here Are Some Foods an Older Adult Needs to Eat Regularly:
Lean protein (chicken, pork, lean meat, seafood, eggs, legumes)
Fruits and vegetables (think red, green, orange, blue, purple)
Whole grains (oatmeal, wild rice, whole wheat toast)
Low-fat dairy (skim milks, low-fat cheese)
You must also keep in mind foods you should stay away from. For example, white bread can induce higher levels of blood sugar. Beverages high in refined sugar can also do the same.
2.Know How Much to Eat
Eating the right foods is crucial for healthy aging. Knowing how much of these to eat is just as important. It's also critical to keep a healthy weight.
Multiple Resources Suggest the Following Food Amounts for Adults Aged 50 and Up:
Fruits—1½ to 2½ cups
Vegetables—2 to 3½ cups
Grains—5 to 10 ounces
Protein foods—5 to 7 ounces
Dairy foods—3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
Oils—5 to 8 teaspoons
Physical and Mental Exercise
"Physical exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster, and keeping your brain active increases vitality. The two combined can change one's mindset and life perspective", says Naheed Ali, MD, PHD, of HealthcarePropulsion.com.
1. Stay active
Aging women and men may have different health needs. However, one that all older persons should never forego is regular physical activity. On top of healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and preventing disease also require exercise.
Here are simple physical activities to get your body, mind, and spirit going as you age:
At least 150 minutes of walking or other aerobic exercise weekly
Strength training two to three times weekly, but never two days in a row
Stretch and balance exercises daily
2.Boost Your Mental Health
Boost your mood and keep your stress levels low. This lessens your risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Here Are Ways to Improve Your Mindset as You Continue Aging:
Be part of a community. Play a weekly game of Scrabble or meet up with your friends and family for some gardening. It's essential to be around people and stay connected.
Do things you enjoy. Pick up a new hobby or volunteer to make yourself and others feel good. Spending time with nature also helps.
Talk to health professionals. Seeking therapy and other mental health services are proven to help fight poor aging in numerous ways. This way, you can keep a healthy mindset and shift your perspective for the better.
Other Healthy Aging Habits
Take a look at the list below to find even more healthy aging habits that can help you improve your life.
1. Quit your vices
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption could increase the risk for heart disease and cancer. It could also cause premature aging and other health problems. As for alcohol, expert resources recommend one drink per day for women and two drinks for men.
2.Talk to Your Doctor Regularly
When it comes to preventing and treating diseases like dementia and cancer, you need to stay in touch with your health care professional. This way, you can ensure that the medications you take or the habits you are living by are sufficient and correct.
3.Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is integral to overall health, particularly for older adults. It improves your focus, reduces inflammation, keeps you sharp, and reduces the risk of stroke. Plus, it helps keep you energized and functioning day by day.
4.Take Supplements When Necessary
Supplements are there to aid one's health. The right multivitamins help fill in nutritional gaps. These can also help those with restrictive diets.
First Day comes with an array of everyday vitamins to help healthy aging. From our Men's Multivitamins to our Women's Multivitamins to even our Joint Supplement we have all your needs covered.
5.Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking enough water helps your digestive system. It also keeps your body systems functioning properly and improves your brain function. Furthermore, it helps reduce the signs of aging and keeps your skin healthier.
Healthy Aging at Its Best
People age, and that's inevitable. However, that shouldn't mean you don't give yourself every chance to age gracefully and meaningfully.
Develop the best possible habits to help your health as you grow older. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, stay connected and take the right supplements. "Taking the correct vitamins is vital for graceful aging," according to Dr. Ali.
Discover First Day and see how we can help your journey towards living life to its fullest.
Dr. Naheed Ali, MD, PhD
Naheed Ali, MD, PhD, is a physician by education and a writer by choice since 2005. He earned an MD degree in 2008 and later completed Harvard Medical School's lifestyle medicine training in 2012, before obtaining a PhD in holistic health elsewhere in 2013. He brings more than 15 years of experience working in a remote environment and has more than 15 years of health-related publications to his credit.
For years, he taught at colleges in the US where he lectured on various biomedical topics and delivered over 2000 hours of live presentations. He is also the author of numerous health titles from major New York publishers and his books have sold more than 20,000 hardcover copies worldwide. Now a digital nomad, he’s currently a health and wellness writer for hire. His online home is HealthcarePropulsion.com.