From the data in Statista (2021), about 21.45% of the population are baby boomers, or people 65 years or older. But, no matter what age you are now, taking care of yourself can serve as your roadway to longevity. Taking steps to improve your health and wellness can distance you from having chronic diseases and long-term illnesses. Moreover, if you are an older adult, age-related diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and other respiratory infections can be prevented. Luckily, you can always make healthy choices and minor lifestyle changes that can inch your way to having a solid immune system and feel good about yourself. Here are seven snippets of advice to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live longer:
- Make your home senior-friendly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020), approximately 36 million older adults slip and fall annually, resulting in more than 32,000 deaths. Three million seniors are treated for fall injuries in emergency rooms each year, and one out of every five cases leads to broken bones or head injuries. As older adults, you are likely to experience falls. This makes a fall-and-slip-friendly home essential for your age. Keep electric cords and other wires off your walking paths and hallways. Ensure that the carpets and rugs are immobile on the floor. Move your low-height furniture to the far end of the room and install some nightlights that can illuminate the walkways from your bed to the toilet at night.
2. Get your regular health checkups.
Aside from eye, dental and hearing checkups, which can spare you from glaucoma, cataracts, gum disease, and hearing loss, you also must schedule annual health screenings and immunization. As we age, we become vulnerable to diseases, and health checkups can provide preventive care before a condition worsens. Treatment and interventions can be started immediately if something is detected at an early stage. Cases of breast cancer are prevalent in older women, while prostate cancer is common among older men. However, getting check-ups alone does not reduce your risks of catching common diseases like the flu, so you should not let your guards down and continue practicing hand and overall body hygiene and stay away from sick people to reduce contagion.
3. Stay physically active.
Robinson, Smith, and Segal (2021) revealed that exercise could improve immune and digestive function, especially for older adults. Not only does this serve as a way to increase metabolism and build muscle, but it can also lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, osteoporosis, and cancers. Regular physical activity can also improve your flexibility, balance, posture, and mobility, preventing you from falls and self-injury. Join a community that does senior-friendly exercises as well as tai-chi, and not only will you improve your physique, you will also gain a social circle.
4. Allow for quality rest.
Quality sleep is essential for your health as you age. Sleeping helps to restore your energy levels and allows your mind and body to repair after sheer exhaustion. Based on Sleep Foundation (2021), older adults should have a regular sleeping pattern of 7.5 to 9 hours a night. It helps if you have a physical activity that can make you sleep faster and deeply so you can wake up with renewed energy and strength.
5. Eat a healthy plate and take supplements.
A healthy diet consists of the right portions of fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. By staying true to your diet, you can boost your immune system and be protected against viruses. As you get older, eating habits also change, and you must learn to eat what your body needs, not what you only like. This can go a long way in bringing longevity to life. Veer away from sugar, fatty food, and oils as these can trigger inflammation, lower the immune system as well as your mood and energy levels. Aside from a healthy plate, you must also lean on your doctor for other supplements or multivitamins that you can take to optimize your health.
6. Do something for lifelong learning.
Learning something new, finding happiness in a new hobby, or simply reading for mental practice can improve your cognition and mental health. Doing something that sparks fun, joy, and curiosity at an old age can enrich and improve the quality of life and keep stress levels low. Such activities can help you get rid of negative emotions and divert your focus towards something optimistic.
7. Manage stress.
Constant feelings of stress often lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol. This is why seniors who are confronted and cannot manage stress are highly at risk for heart attacks and strokes. As stress increases the body’s internal production of cortisol, the stress hormone excessive cortisol can impede various bodily functions and the immune system. Mental exercises, relaxation techniques, and breathing strategies can help relieve stress in the same way that yoga, meditation, and socialization do.
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