Aging. We all experience it, and there’s no hiding from it. So what should you do when you wake up one day and realize that your hearing is starting to go? Your vision is getting blurry?
Even if you haven’t been practicing healthy habits throughout your life, it’s never too late to start taking proactive steps to maintain and even improve your health. Small lifestyle changes can have a big impact, and adopting even a few of the habits listed here will get you started:
1. Get a good night’s sleep
It may not sound like much, but getting a solid eight hours of sleep every night is essential to keeping yourself healthy as you get older. So make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye—and try not to stress about it! If a few extra minutes here and there aren’t going to hurt anyone, then consider it an investment in your own longevity and quality of life.
2. Eat regularly and eat well
Eating well is an important part of staying healthy and happy as we age. What does “eating well” look like? It means eating high-quality foods in moderation—and that means making sure your meals include lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables while reducing saturated fats, processed food, and junk food.
Learn how to keep your mind sharp with a brain healthy diet.
3. Stay Hydrated
The older you get, the more important it is to stay hydrated. When you’re young, you can get away with not drinking much water because your body is naturally well-hydrated, you eat more, and you take fewer medications that may cause dehydration. But as you get older, it’s important to keep a close eye on how much water you drink. To keep things simple, aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day, more if you can manage it!
4. Get up and move
There are many benefits of staying active as you age. Exercise helps keep your heart healthy, improves your mood, and can even help offset many of the negative effects of aging.
Find something that works for you—whether it’s swimming laps at the pool or taking a walk, any movement is better than none at all. Start small, and build up gradually over time to avoid injuring yourself during workouts.
5. Exercise your mind
Just as important as exercising your body is exercising your mind! If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it—and that’s true whether we’re talking about physical fitness or mental fitness. One of the best ways to keep your brain healthy is by reading books, doing mind puzzles, or engaging in interesting conversations with family members, friends, and community members.
6. Take care of your mental health
Mental health can be hard for people to take care of because it’s not always as tangible as physical health—but it is just as important! The daily challenges of aging can be stressful and weigh on our mental health, contributing to anxiety and depression. To combat this, take time every day to enjoy activities that make you feel good, discuss your concerns with loved ones or trusted advisors, know that what you are feeling is common and normal, and use your community resources to build a support system.
You may feel like you’re too old to go out and meet new people. But we want to tell you: don’t stop socializing just yet!
There are a ton of health benefits that come from keeping up with old friends and making new ones. Studies have shown that having regular contact with friends and family members can help prevent heart disease and stroke as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Even a weekly game night or lunch with a loved one can reduce stress levels, improve mood and help you stay mentally sharp as you age.
Learn more about the importance of senior friendships to healthy and happy aging.
8. Be proactive
There are a few things that get harder with age, but there are easy steps you can take to keep yourself feeling your best. No matter how old you are, being proactive about your health is the best way to feel your best.
That means seeing your doctor for regular checkups and screenings for common health issues based on your age, gender, and more risk factors. It means knowing what family history has led to similar problems in family members before you and addressing them before they get worse.
9. Medication management
While it seems obvious, do remember to take any medication prescribed to you by your doctor. The more drugs you take, the harder it can be to remember when and how to take them all, and the higher your risk for adverse drug reactions.
If you have questions about how to take your medications, talk with your pharmacist or another healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about medications that are prescribed for older adults.
10. Avoid tobacco products
As we age, our bodies change in many ways. While some of these changes are inevitable, there are things we can avoid all together.
One of those things being tobacco usage – which can cause heart disease, cancer, strokes, and more. If you are a current smoker or tobacco user we encourage you to quit with the help of your support system.
Senior Life Services to Age with Grace
Aging is a natural process, but it doesn’t have to be a fast one. With the right habits, you can stay active and healthy throughout your life. At Blakeford Senior Living, our skilled staff and community of seniors can support you as you age in place and enjoy it. To learn more, contact us.