Getting older means your body and your immune system are not what they used to be. It’s easier to fall sick and for minor simple illnesses, like the flu or a cough, to develop secondary infections and complications.
For older adults, it’s twice as important to practice healthy habits to boost your body’s defense against illness, as well as prevent chronic conditions from getting worse. That said, here are seven health tips to stay healthy in your senior years.
No matter what age you are, regular exercise is essential to keep your body and immune system strong. Older adults, aged 65 and up, who are more active tend to enjoy better health than those who are sedentary.
Ideally, seniors should fit 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in their week. You can do 20 to 30 minutes of walking, cycling, swimming, or low-impact aerobic exercises every day to strengthen your body and enhance your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
While building strength and health with physical activities, aftercare is as imperative. Older adults not used to even light workouts might find it a little bit difficult to move around the next day because of muscle pains. Recover faster with proper rest, the right nutrients from balanced meals and helpful muscle recovery tapes.
A healthy diet is essential to boost your immune system, prevent illnesses, and keep chronic conditions in control. As you age, your metabolism and digestive system slow down, so you need to eat more high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eating food rich in antioxidants also helps protect against cell damage and keep your body strong.
Sugary and fatty foods should be avoided as they can cause inflammation, weaken the immune system, and exacerbate chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness.
The NHS lists several foods to avoid eating if you’re over 65.
Seniors can prevent illness by getting immunized against common infections. For adults 50 years and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the shingles vaccine and pneumococcal vaccinations. The shingles vaccine is given in two doses two to six months apart, while the flu shot should be renewed yearly.
Chronic stress can have serious negative effects on your physical and mental health. It can weaken your immune system and worsen serious conditions. Chronic stress can also lead to mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
Long-term stress increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, heart attacks, and stroke. Learn to manage your stress by staying active, doing mindfulness activities, and starting an enjoyable new hobby. Keep yourself away from situations or people causing you a lot of stress.
Tobacco, alcohol, and drugs have well-documented negative effects on people’s physical and mental health. Smoking can cause respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, heart failure, and stroke.
Long-term abuse of alcohol can lead to liver damage, certain cancers, and immune system disorders. It can also exacerbate chronic conditions, like osteoporosis, diabetes, ulcers, and mood disorders. Taking illegal drugs also lead to many negative health effects and even death.
Older adults should visit the doctor at least once a year to stay up-to-date on health screenings, which use high-end medical sensors and equipment to take a closer look at your health. Women in their fifties should start mammogram screening to check for breast cancer while men should get tested for prostate cancer. Other routine tests seniors need to undergo include these:
Going to your annual checkups is an essential step to get a deeper insight into your health condition and know what steps you can take to stay fit.
Getting older means facing the reality that your health and body are not as robust as they were when you were young. With this knowledge also comes the acceptance that you need to take more care of your health.
Older adults are vulnerable to many health issues, which is why they must practice healthy habits. These include staying active, eating right, preventing infections, managing stress, avoiding harmful substances, and staying up-to-date on health screenings. Only then can these people fully enjoy happier and healthier aging.