Aging well begins with healthy habits, like Linda Mahnker’s practice of exercising every day. Linda, a Baptist Health patient, attends a workout class with friends in the morning and lifts weights on her own in the afternoon. Through physical activity and camaraderie with her fellow workout classmates, Linda’s exercise habits help keep her body and mind strong.
September is Healthy Aging Month, and we want to help seniors like Linda live their healthiest, most amazing lives. Read on for a few tips on how you can help yourself age healthily.
A balanced, healthy diet is widely known to help control weight, and while maintaining a healthy weight is certainly important, the food you eat can have a profound effect on numerous aspects of your health. Nutritious food can improve your stress levels, bolster your ability to fight off sickness and disease, enhance your sleep and increase your energy levels.
Get some sleep.
As you age, keeping a regular sleep schedule can become harder and harder. Make a point to get at least eight hours of sleep each night and create a sleep ritual by finding an activity that relaxes you, then doing it at the same time every night before bed. Drinking hot chamomile tea, lighting a candle or winding down with a good book are all effective ways to relax and prepare for bed. You can also try turning off all electronics, including the TV, computer and phone, an hour before bedtime.
Get regular checkups.
Regular checkups and screenings are the most effective way to prevent chronic or fatal disease. Everyone should have a yearly physical, biyearly dental exams and skin examinations if you find any questionable moles or spots. All adults age 50 and up should get a yearly colonoscopy, and you should also talk to your doctor about osteoporosis and diabetes screenings as you age. Women over the age of 40 should receive a yearly mammogram, and men over the age of forty should get a yearly prostate screening.
Supplement your diet with vitamins to give yourself an extra health boost. We recommend speaking with your doctor to find the best mix of supplements for your unique needs. Common supplements for senior adults include a multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium and iron.
Keep an active lifestyle by making plenty of time for the things you love. Go for walks, swim laps or bike. Join a club centered around one of your hobbies, or volunteer for your favorite charity. Make entertainment activities a priority by trying new restaurants, going to see a show or concert or perusing your local farmer’s market each week.
Strong friendships have a powerful impact on your emotional, mental – and even physical – health. Invest in your relationships with friends and family on a weekly basis, and put yourself in situations where you can meet new people as well!
By implementing a few healthy habits into your routine, you can continue living your fullest, most amazing life. For more information and resources to help you make healthy decisions as you age, visit our senior health page or make an appointment.