As we age, health becomes more important. Thanks to improvements in medicine and health, we live longer lives now. As such, it’s even more important than ever before to develop healthy habits as we get older.
September is Healthy Aging Month, which was designated in order to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. The “Healthy Aging Campaign” was established 15 years ago, and since then, individuals help others become aware of their physical and mental health, diet, social skills and even financial situations; all factors that contribute to successful aging.
Healthy Aging Month encourages to act how you feel — instead of acting your age! This month also encourages our seniors to take charge of their well-being, by aging with a healthy body (physical health) and a healthiest mind (mental health).
There are many ways to use Healthy Aging Month as inspiration to being celebrating life, and the month is dedicated to helping individuals gain a more positive outlook about growing older. And while genetics play a role when it comes to aging, seniors still can take steps to encourage better health.
Unicity Healthcare would like to share tips on how to promote “Healthy Aging” during this awareness month!
Tips To Make The Most Of “Healthy Aging Month”
If you are not accustomed to exercise, consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine and be sure to start slowly to allow plenty of time to get used to each level of activity.
Exercise can be as simple as walking just ten or fifteen minutes, three to four times a week and increasing as you go. For those who are more active, try taking up tennis or joining a club where you can swim or use the exercise equipment. Even just taking a dance class or senior yoga, gardening or mowing the lawn. There are countless ways to stay active that will keep your body moving.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Many Americans aren’t aware of proper portion sizes and inevitably eat larger portions than recommended, and we all know overeating leads to obesity — which could lead to even bigger health concerns such as diabetes or heart disease. Plus as we age, our metabolism slows down and we need fewer calories.
Healthy eating is a big part of staying healthy, and the USDA emphasizes the need for more vegetables and fruits in the American diet – recommending five a day.Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to avoid excessive processed foods. Boosting the amount of fresh vegetables in our diet is an easy way to feel full without a lot of calories. The USDA suggests an easy way to balance nutrition: your plate should have slightly less than one quarter proteins (lean meat, fish, poultry or legumes) and fruits, slightly more than one quarter grains and vegetables. Additionally, stay hydrated by drink a lot of water, at least 6-8 glasses per day.
Don’t be afraid to make new friends, and make an effort to see your old friends, too. A sedentary lifestyle devoid of interaction with friends and family lead to health issues and isolation can lead to depression. Instead of feeling lonely and bored reach out and invite friends and family over! Or you can socialize with others by volunteering, joining a class or bringing a caregiver — which may in to help you look forward to activities such as cooking with their help, playing cards/games, or simply talking.
If you can no longer drive, look for transportation services that can help you get out and attend social events. If you’re computer literate, schedule Facetime conversations with children and grandchildren. Just by interact with and talk to someone daily, you will do your mind and mental health a world of good.
Balance Both Your Body & Mind
Keep your mind active by reading the newspaper (or read on your tablet) while you eat breakfast. Keeping your mind active and engaged may ward off brain chemistry changes that could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Working on puzzles, reading books are also great for the mind and will help reduce stress that comes with aging problems. You can even take up a new creative hobby! For your body, perhaps practice yoga to improve your flexibility and balance. It is also great for the mind and will help reduce stress that comes with aging problems.
Get Regular Check-Ups And Yearly Physicals
Don’t ignore symptoms. If you’re not feeling well, don’t “wait for it to go away.” While you don’t need to visit the doctor for every ailment, know yourself and your body well enough to detect if there is something out of the ordinary.
Don’t neglect regular medical check ups; have an annual physical examination. and schedule the tests your doctor recommends. This would include your eye doctor and dentist as well as your physician. Many diseases can be prevented when caught early if you remain diligent about your health. Take medications and vitamins/supplements as prescribed in order to ensure you are feeling your best.
How Quality Of Life Is Important To Healthy Aging
A positive outlook and proactive approach is one of the best ways to encourage healthy aging! Here’s how to get the most out of life as you age.
- Positive Attitude – Keep a positive attitude through life. Focus on the positive, taking hold of any problems and addressing them properly and you will find that you will be happier in your life.
- Don’t “Act Your Age” – Forget that “number” – it’s only a number, after all! Live life looking forward to activities and actions that make you smile and forget about your age!
- Be Proactive – Take charge of your health and research the many ways you can use your Health Insurance to take proactive steps in keeping healthy. You’re entitled to a variety of healthcare screenings as you get older; and it’s important to know exactly what tests and screenings you should behaving, based on your age and gender.
- Try Something New – It’s never too late to make changes and become a whole new you! Take up a new hobby, learn a language, take a class, or join a book club. Making your life interesting is one of the best ways to focus on healthy aging.
- Embrace Your Creativity – You may be surprised that you have an artistic side to you if you check out classes on painting, sketching or drawing. If your art talents are limited try adult coloring books that you can color with pencils.
- Surround Yourself With Positivity – Your mental health plays a very important part in healthy aging and surrounding yourself with people who make you smile and laugh makes healthy aging even easier.
Focusing on both your mental — as well as physical — well being, in order to feel more “alive” as you embark on a new journey of healthy aging.
Other Ways To Promote Healthy Aging This Month
Below are some other helpful tips from HealthyAging.net that all seniors may want to consider during the month of September.
1) Intern: You are never too old to start something new!
2) Take Classes: Its never too late to take classes, even if to just enhance your skill set.
3) Volunteer: Volunteering gives you the opportunity to feel positive, as well as give back.
4) Move Your Body: Just keep moving! Engaging in physical activity keeps our seniors feeling young.
5) Travel: Go explore new and beautiful places, even those places that are close by.
You can visit HealthyAging.net for even more wonderful suggestion and ideas on Healthy Aging!
Fighting Back Against “Nature”
Finally, it’s a good idea to look at the health history of your family. Do research on your family tree to see how old relatives were when they passed, and talk over with your physician your family history. Your health care provider is able to provide insight on how to with with him or her to assure you’re fighting nature and genetics to assure you have the longest, healthiest life possible.
You can beat some genetic diseases by adopting a healthier lifestyle and by embracing healthy options you take the preventive actions to help assure you’re as healthy as you can be as you move into your 60s, 70s and beyond.
Remaining active and engaged is the best gift you can give yourself. Staying physically and mentally active, and nurturing social connections with friends and family, are all part of the bigger picture in helping to keep your mind and body well
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When the time come to consider home care for your loved one, you may seek help from Unicity’s qualified home care professionals to help ease the burden.
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