Getting older can be an emotionally troubling experience. Why? As people get old, they experience changes in their appearance, such as sagging skin, wrinkles, and gray hair. All these changes can be emotionally challenging for the individual. However, old age should not solely be defined by these declines. After all, these are your golden years when you are free of most responsibilities, so welcome this time with open arms.
One factor determining whether or not your old age is a golden period is your mental and physical health. Maintaining good health ensures you can age well and enjoy a higher quality of life.
Undoubtedly, aging is an inevitable process—you cannot prevent wrinkles from appearing on your skin or ensure you always have the vigor and strength of your younger years. However, you can still take countless steps to protect your well-being and age well. Here are some tips for maintaining your health during old age:
1. Ensure medical screenings
As you age, your body’s natural disease-fighting strength diminishes considerably. Hence, you become more prone to infections and disease attacks. Some of these medical conditions do not become apparent until after progressing to their later stages.
Regular health checkups and medical screenings help you detect hidden medical issues at their most treatable stages. Therefore, older people are recommended to undergo health screenings, such as blood pressure examinations and cholesterol checks, regularly.
Regular medical screenings are particularly crucial for people with a history of working in construction, shipyards, chemical plants, or other such industries. These worksites are notorious for exposing workers to harmful substances like chemical dust and asbestos.
Asbestos exposure can result in mesothelioma, which can develop decades later. However, the law protects mesothelioma victims; they can sue the responsible parties and demand compensation. You can visit www.mesotheliomahope.com for comprehensive information about mesothelioma, its treatment options, and the legal help available to the victims.
Regular screenings can help you monitor your health and detect mesothelioma at its initial stages by undergoing screenings, including chest X-rays, CT scans, and lung function tests.
2. Get plenty of sleep
Most of us don’t recognize the importance of regular sleep and how it affects our mental and physical health. Not sleeping even for one night can cause mood swings, physical discomfort, concentration problems, and so on.
According to the CDC, Lack of sleep is also associated with conditions like obesity, diabetes, and depression. Research has also revealed an association between insomnia and increased aging of the brain.
Guess what? Beauty sleep isn’t a myth, either. Sleep deprivation can reduce the strength and quality of collagen, causing wrinkles and frown lines.
As you age and your body loses its vitality, it becomes increasingly challenging to cope with the adverse effects of sleep deprivation. Consequently, proper sleep becomes even more important. So, despite myths that older people need to sleep less, you still need seven to nine hours of restful sleep daily.
3. Maintain social connection
Maintaining social connections with your loved ones is important for healthy aging. Aging can make you lonely as your life does not remain as vibrant and active as it once was during your younger years. Loneliness can, in turn, cause stress and instill a sense of loss. Therefore, staying connected with your loved ones is crucial to dispel these negative feelings during old age.
In fact, you should maintain social ties not just for fun but also for living longer. According to a study, those who maintain social relations have a 50% higher chance of living a long life than those with insufficient or poor social connections. So, even if living in one corner of the house and avoiding interaction with others seems like the easiest option, you should strive to connect.
4. Exercise regularly
Staying active is crucial to protecting your health and aging well. As you grow old, you lose muscle mass more rapidly. Muscle mass reduces by 3–8% per decade after crossing the 30 mark; this decline is even more rapid after 60 years. Exercise, in particular resistance training, can help you gain mass and strength and stay healthy. In addition to keeping you strong and healthy, regular exercise may also decrease the chance of age-related dementia by approximately 30%, as per Alzheimer’s Society.
While there is no need to overdo physical activity by attending a gym every day, you can still develop a healthy routine for incorporating physical exercise into your daily regime. However, engaging in physical activity that makes you happy is important so you don’t feel overburdened. You can start by climbing stairs and then gradually move to other forms of physical activity.
5. Learn a skill
Active aging goes beyond moving your body and involves mental stimulation, too. Physical exercise moves your muscles and bones and makes them healthy; the same goes for the brain. You must keep it active by undertaking new challenges. In this regard, learning something new or even rekindling a passion you had in your youth is a good idea. Enrolling in a degree program is another fun way to keep your brain active. It does not matter what new skill or hobby you pursue as long as it stimulates your mind and keeps you busy.
6. Don’t overeat
Eating a healthy diet keeps you fit and healthy during old age. However, overeating is never recommended. Overeating, which makes you heavier instead of healthily full and satisfied, can lead to many problems, including obesity, poor digestion, and type-2 diabetes. Therefore, it is better to exercise portion control and avoid overeating to protect your health during old age. Add more protein to your diet, helping you feel fuller for longer. In particular, incorporate a source of protein in your breakfast, such as egg whites, vegetables, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, or berries, to improve your satiety and decrease daylong hunger.
In old age, keeping yourself healthy and safe is your responsibility. It prevents you from relying on caregivers or loved ones. To achieve this, you should be particular about adopting a lifestyle incorporating regular sleep, healthy eating, staying positive, regular doctoral meetings, etc. In addition, you should also acknowledge the power of engaging your brain in doing something you love or that challenges it. These initiatives ensure that you stay healthy during the later years of your life.