by Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com
Health trends come and go, but living healthy is something that never goes out of style. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 85, eating well, visiting your doctor, and prioritizing your well-being are essential. Even if you’ve never had any issues, it doesn’t hurt to take preventative measures to keep yourself physically and mentally well. Here are five habits to help you do just that.
You may have been able to down an entire pizza in your teen years without any real negative consequences. However, as your body matures, you have to pay careful attention to everything you put into it.
Your digestive system may not be able to keep up with your favorite foods anymore, and that can cause issues such as heartburn and indigestion (not to mention weight gain). That does not mean that you can’t enjoy your time at the table.
Plan your meals to include a balance of lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, such as olive oil. The National Council for Aging Care also recommends getting enough fiber, water, and vitamins in your diet every day.
Exercise is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself. You don’t have to lift weights or run marathons. You can easily reap some health benefits by simply taking a stroll around the neighborhood or spending an afternoon in the garden.
A Place for Mom explains that exercise can improve your memory and energy levels, as well as work to alleviate depression. When thinking about your physical activities, consider your limitations. If you have balance issues, for example, doing modified yoga or water aerobics is an option.
Likewise, if you live in an area prone to bad weather, find a large public space, such as a mall or local museum, where you can spend a few hours each week walking.
Keeping Up with Routine Healthcare
Prevention is undoubtedly the best medicine. As you get older, visit your primary health care provider at least once each year. Here, you have access to preventative screenings and health tests that can alert you early if problems begin to develop.
Medicare Part B covers many services, including cardiovascular disease screening, mammograms, and obesity counseling. In addition to your doctor’s office, some pharmacies and many senior-oriented community centers offer free basic healthcare screenings. Walgreens, CVS, Costco, and Sam’s Club are among providers that routinely offer free flu shots if you have Medicare or private insurance.
These retail centers often have a pharmacist on staff who can provide no-cost medication counseling, which is especially beneficial if you take more than one prescription.
Spending Time with Loved Ones
One of the drawbacks of getting older is that your closest friends, family members, and spouse are aging, too. With each passing year, you are at a higher risk of watching your social and emotional support network dwindle. Loneliness is a common problem among the elderly, with approximately one in 17 in the 65-plus crowd experiencing depression in some form, which is often linked to isolation.
Schedule time to spend with your loved ones, even if it’s just a once-per-week game of cards or having the grandchildren over a few weekends each month. Being with other people can boost your cognitive function and quell stress and anxiety.
Managing Mental Health
Loneliness and depression absolutely contribute to mental health disorders. However, it’s worth noting separately that your mental health should be just as important in your daily life in your physical health.
Life Senior Services explains that you should seek professional help if you feel sad for more than two weeks, can’t shake worries about your health, family, or money, or have turned to alcohol or other drugs for relief.
You may have wrinkles on your skin and silver in your hair, but that does not mean that you can’t continue to thrive. Keeping track of your health means eating right, exercising, and maintaining a relationship with your providers.
And given that seniors today live longer than ever, you owe it to yourself to make these extra years your best.
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