It's Healthy Aging Month: Here Are 10 Tips for Aging Gracefully
September is healthy aging month, making it a good time to look into ways that you can take care of your physical and mental health. The observance of healthy aging month is designed to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good physical and mental health as you age. While you cannot stop the progression of time, there are steps that you can take both now and in the future to set yourself up for success.
Best Practices for Healthy Aging
When it comes to healthy aging, it is important to be proactive rather than reactive. Here are 10 of the best tips that you can employ to manage your health and improve your chances for a long and healthy life.
Focus on Good Nutrition
You cannot expect to live a healthy lifestyle into your golden years if you are not willing to make good nutrition the cornerstone of your wellness plan. The best plan is to focus on eating foods that are nutrient-rich, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lean proteins and low-fat dairy sources are also part of the building blocks of a good diet.
Stay on Top of Medical Checkups
Even if you are a generally healthy person, it is important to stay on top of all of your regular medical checkups. There is no substitute for preventative care. Regular screenings will help your healthcare provider to catch potential diseases in their early stages. Your doctor will be able to guide you on what screenings you need based on your age and individual risk factors.
Understand Your Family History
Related to the importance of regular preventative care is the value of your understanding your family health history. This means knowing what illnesses and diseases that you may be at a higher risk of developing based on genetics alone. Your doctor will be able to advise you if there is anything that you should do differently in regard to health screenings as a result of this personal genetic history.
There is no getting around the fact that regular physical exercise is vital for a healthy life. The good news is that you do not need to compete in marathons to see the benefits. Moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week will help to cut your risk of developing a variety of diseases and illnesses while keeping obesity at bay.
There is no shortage to the ways that excessive stress can impact your health in negative ways. In addition to leading to premature aging and wrinkles, chronic stress can also increase your risk of developing heart disease. Good ways to relieve stress include through the use of exercise, yoga, meditation and nurturing social connections.
Kick Those Bad Habits
You do not need a medical professional to tell you that smoking and tobacco use are terrible for your health. Kicking these bad habits immediately is one of the best things that you can do for your short-term and long-term health. While the occasional alcoholic beverage is not detrimental to your health, excessive consumption will raise your risks of developing a number of ailments.
If you needed an excuse to sleep in on the weekend, this is it. Getting enough sleep is imperative for overall health. Proper sleep will lower your risk of developing heart disease, reduce inflammation throughout the body, boost immune system function, improve your mental health and mitigate the risk of obesity. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night for optimal health and wellness.
Nourish Mental Health
Mental health matters. More and more individuals are struggling with mental health issues as they age. Taking preventative steps to improve your mental health will spill over to all areas of your life in positive ways. Good ways to do this include being intentional about connecting with loved ones, engaging in activities that bring you joy and taking time to practice self-care.
Do Not Neglect Oral Health
Many people do an admirable job eating right and exercising but neglect to take care of their oral health. Not properly caring for your teeth can increase your risk of gum disease, a common precursor to stroke, heart disease and bacterial pneumonia. Brushing your teeth at least twice per day, flossing daily and seeing a dentist regularly are the best strategies.
One of the easiest ways to support healthy aging is to be diligent about drinking enough water. Proper hydration will regulate bowel movements, boost energy levels, improve cognitive function and upgrade the appearance of your skin by reducing the visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
An ounce of prevention is certainly worth more than a pound of cure as you age. Being proactive about your commitment to healthy aging will pay big dividends for your overall wellness as you get older.