By Aaron Smith
Living a long life is something everyone hopes to do. There are many changes associated with aging, including physical, mental, social, and emotional. Some are more pleasant to experience than others, but all are inevitable parts of life.
Taking care of yourself and maintaining your health at any age is important, but it becomes crucial when you are over 65 years old. Things that used to cause minor injuries and illness, such as tripping over furniture or catching a cold, can cause more serious complications for seniors.
The best way to prevent serious injury or illness is to make healthier choices and be more careful. Things that can keep you healthy and strong year round include eating better, staying active, washing your hands frequently, preventing falls, and planning an annual visit to your doctor. We will examine how each tip can be implemented in a simple and manageable way.
Most young people can eat pretty much anything without gaining weight. This is because your body has the highest basal metabolic rate in your teenage and twenties. You burn calories more often and faster than at any other time in your life.
Unfortunately, as you age, your metabolism slows at a rate of around 2-3 percent per year. By the time you are in your late sixties, your metabolism will have dropped significantly and you will find that burning calories takes a lot more effort.
Eating sugary or fatty foods regularly can not only weaken your immune system, but also lead to weight gain, which can lead to other health problems. Losing weight as a senior isn’t easy, so it’s best to stick to a healthy diet rather than working out a bad one.
Eating a healthy diet can boost your immune system, protect you from harmful viruses, and provide your body with the much-needed antioxidants. It’s important that you feel good and stay healthy as you get older.
Regular activity is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy regardless of your age. Staying active is especially beneficial for older adults as it can help prevent health problems while maintaining strength and flexibility. In addition, daily exercise can help your body fight inflammation and infection. Aside from the ability to overexert yourself, there is no downside to exercising regularly.
As you age, you lose muscle mass. This is a condition known as “sarcopenia” that occurs primarily in inactive seniors. They tend to get much weaker faster, which can affect their stamina, balance, and mobility. Older adults who do not stay active on a regular basis are more prone to falls, which can lead to serious fractures or injuries.
We do not recommend that you do intensive training. Instead, the CDC recommends getting around 20 minutes of moderate exercise each day to stay healthy. This could mean taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or going for a swim in your local pool. Do what feels best to you.
It is just as important to keep the mind occupied as it is to stay active. Falling into repetitive, boring routines can be detrimental to an aging mind. Participate in frequent therapeutic activities that will keep you sharp and improve your mood.
Wash hands frequently
Everyone should wash their hands frequently. Not only is it hygienic, but it is also one of the most effective ways to prevent disease and the spread of infection to others. This is an especially important habit for seniors as they can be prone to illness.
A child who catches a cold can take a day or two off from school and watch TV all day while they recuperate. When an older adult gets sick, even if they have something minor, they are at risk of developing more complicated conditions.
Many things become more difficult as you get older, and performing even the most basic functions suddenly becomes more strenuous than it used to be. Things like arthritis or other joint diseases can make moving around painful, but it’s important to continue with basic hygiene practices. This is the best way to stay healthy all year round.
Prevent falls from happening
You feel pretty invincible when you’re a kid. Scratches and falls are part of the territory of outdoor gaming, and risky teenage behavior is practically a right of passage. However, this changes as you get older. While your chances of falling from a tree as a senior are slim, everyday household items instead become dangerous.
Think about if someone like a younger family member will come over and help you make your home “fall-proof”. Remove carpets or loose carpets and make sure all hallways and paths in your home are clear and easy to walk through. You can also plug in night lights to make it easier to get up at night. As long as your space is free from clutter, you should be protected from unexpected injuries.
However, if you live alone and are concerned about falls, consider hiring a homecare service. It can be of great help to have someone drop by a few times a week to check something or do a bit of tidying up. In addition, regular audits of the use of your living space can be a useful safety measure.
Schedule annual physical
Nobody likes going to the doctor’s office, but as you get older, regular checkups become more important. Many conditions can go undetected, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, but doctors notice them during annual physical exams. Detecting illnesses early is the best way to prevent long-term complications.
If for any reason you feel sick, contact your doctor right away. We’re not suggesting that you turn into a hypochondriac, but it’s dangerous to assume that cold or flu are harmless when you’re an older adult.
Aging happens whether we like it or not. By following the tips above, you will acknowledge this reality and give yourself the best chance of living a long, healthy, and comfortable life.
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant supporting STEM companies and medical offices. He reports on industry developments and helps companies to get in touch with customers. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swinging, and playing science fiction novels.