Practical Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy and Fit
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To increase longevity and live a happy and healthy life, it’s important for older adults to take care of themselves — mind, body, and spirit. You don’t need to undergo costly anti-aging treatments or eat an unusual diet; instead, use these practical tips from Physical Therapists Bob and Brad to stay healthy and fit as you age.
Many illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, can be controlled or even prevented by eating right. For optimal health, avoid refined sugar and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, consume plenty of plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, quinoa, nuts, and seeds. To help prevent osteoporosis, women should consider taking calcium and vitamin D supplements. If you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be eligible for one of their wellness programs, which can be a helpful complement to your nutritional plan. If you don't have one of these plans, shop around for one that offers the support you may need.
If you’re concerned about a healthy diet being expensive, know that you can afford it by making a few simple changes to your spending habits. The key is to utilize a few strategies that will help you stretch your savings. These can include carpooling to reduce transportation costs, taking advantage of senior discounts, and visiting public libraries and thrift stores to save money on books and clothing, respectively. You can also look for another Medicare plan that suits your health needs better and won’t come with big out-of-pocket costs.
Eating well and staying active can help you maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise also increases balance, flexibility, and strength. Physical activity can also help reduce stress, improve sleep, stave off illness, and avoid falls. According to the CDC, one in four people aged 65 and older fall each year. Furthermore, one in five falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. Therefore, fall prevention is very important for seniors. You should exercise to build lower body strength and balance, as well as remove trip hazards from your home to reduce risks of falling. You don’t need to join a gym to stay active; walking around the block and taking part in a local yoga class are good ways to start.
A great way to keep track of your physical activity is to wear a smartwatch that tracks your movement and heart rate. These handy devices are great for anyone looking to improve their health, and they can even be customized with fun bands or those that look like high-end jewelry. As a bonus, they can track your sleep cycle to help you achieve a healthy pattern, which will be a boon to your daily exercise goals.
If getting physical activity has become difficult because of an injury or simply due to aging, Bob and Brad can work with you to build strength as well as increase your flexibility and range of motion. Search through their numerous videos on their YouTube Channel.
Get Regular Checkups
Schedule an annual wellness visit with your primary care physician and take advantage of the many preventive screenings for cancer and other diseases. The cost of these screenings is typically covered by insurance. You also don’t need to resign to losing your teeth as you age. Brushing, flossing, and checkups can help your teeth last a lifetime and your gums stay healthy. Regular vision check-ups are also essential to identify eye problems associated with age including declining vision, cataracts, and glaucoma. Schedule dental, vision, and hearing appointments annually unless your health care professional suggests more frequent visits.
For your mind, body, and spirit, you need to keep stress levels under control. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress can cause a host of physical ailments, as well as lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional and mental health issues. You can reduce stress by identifying and avoiding stressors. Other stress relievers include exercise, meditation, scheduled downtime, volunteerism, socialization, and laughter.
No one lives forever, but you can do things to help increase your longevity and maintain your health as you age. By following these simple tips, you can try to stay healthy physically and mentally as you enjoy your golden years.