Aging can come with some of the most rewarding years of your life. As you grow older, you may gain the confidence you lacked in your younger self and become wiser and more patient. To live your best life during these years, it is important to take good care of your body to prevent illnesses.
Your immune system tends to weaken naturally as you age, and infections as simple as the common cold can lead to advanced complications. Therefore, it is essential to make healthy choices to reduce your likelihood of illness and strengthen your immune system. Below are some tips to help improve your health as you age.
Physical activity is a great way to boost your immune system. Engaging in movement helps your body to fight against infections and inflammation. You do not have to engage in strenuous activities to reap these health benefits. You can engage in a few low-impact exercises, which will be equally as effective.
Engage in moderate-intensity exercises such as swimming, biking, walking, or low impact aerobics for 20 to 30 minutes every day. Doing yoga and lifting weights can also help to strengthen your muscles. You can try out some of the available low-intensity exercise options to find what works best for you and build a routine.
Maintain a healthy diet
Maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean meats can boost your immune system while protecting you against harmful, illness-causing bacteria and viruses. Vegetables and fruits are a good source of antioxidants that keep your body healthy by protecting your cells from damage.
Additionally, limit your consumption of fatty and sugary foods, which can lower your immune system and trigger inflammation in the body. It is also essential to limit your alcohol intake. You can consult with your doctor about the amount of alcohol that is safe to drink per day or week.
Take your medication as directed by your doctor
Although this may seem like a no-brainer, it is essential to take your prescription medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Additionally, ensure to schedule periodic medication reviews with your primary care physician to determine whether all of your prescriptions are still necessary and where to make changes.
Remember that it may be difficult to remember when and how to take your prescription medicine, especially if you have many drugs to take. To make the process much easier, you can apply the use of dosage storage cans, which are calibrated with the days of the week in AM and PM order, or mobile apps with automatic reminders to take your medicine.
Practice good dental hygiene every day
Develop the habit of brushing at least twice a day, cleaning any dentures that you wear regularly, and flossing daily to protect your teeth and gums. A good dental care routine will help you achieve healthier teeth and gums while preventing inflammation in your mouth, which helps manage other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Engage in self-care
Getting older doesn’t mean that you have to neglect the activities you used to do to feel better, such as getting your hair done and shopping for clothes. In fact, engaging in such activities can help you to feel happier and more youthful.
It is also essential to maintain your physical hygiene by taking regular baths and wearing clean clothes. Proper hygiene can help to reduce the occurrence of diaper rash in adults.
Making an effort to stay connected to your friends and family can be highly beneficial to your overall health. If you lack a social life, you are more likely to get depression or dementia. Seniors who report feelings of being left out or isolated have a harder time performing everyday tasks such as climbing the stairs or bathing.
Loneliness can lead to higher levels of stress hormones leading to swelling or inflammation, which are linked to diabetes and arthritis. Therefore, it is essential to seek like-minded individuals with whom you can engage through volunteer activities, church groups, and alumni groups.
Wash your hands frequently
Another excellent way to boost your overall health is by washing your hands regularly. Viruses and bacteria are found on all surfaces inside and outside of the house, and some of them can live for 24 hours or more. They can cause illness if you touch the contaminated surface with your hands and then touch your face.
Therefore, it is essential to wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds as often as you can. Additionally, avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth with your hands to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus. An antibacterial hand sanitizer can come in handy when the facilities to wash your hands aren’t readily available.
Get enough sleep
Scientists recommend that adults aged over 65 should sleep for seven to eight hours every night. As you age, you may notice changes in your sleep patterns, and you are more likely to get sleepy early in the evening and ready to wake up earlier during the morning.
This pattern is common to many individuals, and it shouldn’t be an issue as long as you continue to meet the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night. If you are unable to meet the recommended sleeping time or suffer from acute or chronic insomnia, speak with your doctor to determine the causes of the same and advice on the possible solutions.
Schedule annual physicals
Scheduling an annual check-up is another good practice that can help you to remain healthy as you age. Ensure to share any health concerns that you may have with your doctor. Conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes often go undetected during their initial stages, and regular physical examinations can enable your physician to diagnose such problems early enough.
Ensure that you also see your doctor immediately after developing any flu or cold symptoms. This is essential because the flu virus tends to lead to additional complications in elderly individuals. They have a weakened immune system, making it harder to fight off the virus. If you see your doctor early enough, he or she can prescribe an antiviral to reduce the length and severity of flu symptoms.
Discuss changes in sexual function with your doctor
If you start to experience changes in your sexual function or libido that cause a negative impact on your sex life, discussing them with your doctor is vital. Keep in mind that intimacy, as you age, is as important as it was in your youthful years. You can secure help to maintain your sex life in the form of medication or physical aids.
Ensure that you also discuss the issue openly with your partner so that both of you can explore new avenues to emotional and physical intimacy. Your primary doctor may also refer you to a sex therapist who can help you and your partner define a mutually satisfying sex life and ways to get there.
Life is full of ups and downs. You may experience sudden layoffs, unexpected health problems, or the death of a loved one. However, maintaining positive thinking even in such circumstances can be a powerful ally. When you choose to remain grateful and optimistic, your body and mind respond positively.
People with a positive outlook towards life are at lower risk of suffering from depression and heart attacks than negative ones. A rosy outlook can also help you eat better and exercise more, eventually increasing your lifespan.
Take supplements as necessary
While it is recommended to get your nutrients from natural foods, supplements can be highly beneficial, especially to elderly individuals. They help support a healthy immune system by ensuring that your body is filled with all the nutrients it needs.
It is, however, essential to seek the advice of your doctor before starting on a particular supplement, especially if you take prescription medication. Some supplements recommended for individuals over 50 include vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.
Travel somewhere new
As you grow older, your children are likely to leave your home for their own, and you get the chance to rest from your regular day job after retirement. It is, therefore, the perfect opportunity to travel. Consider traveling to a new destination to relax your mind and expose yourself to some new experiences.
Travelling also allows you to interact with new people and learn their culture while allowing you to view beautiful scenery. These experiences can leave you feeling happier, therefore improving your overall health.
Learn how to manage stress
Excessive stress can cause your body to increase its production of cortisol, the stress hormone. When produced in high amounts, cortisol can disrupt certain functions in your body, including your immune system.
To prevent this, try to reduce your stress levels by setting reasonable expectations for yourself, increasing your physical activity, getting enough sleep, and exploring enjoyable and relaxing activities.
Maintaining a strong and healthy body is essential as you grow older. Apply some of the tips mentioned above to achieve exactly that.