Staying healthy as we age is important for many reasons, but with all the information out there it’s tough to tell just what is good for us and what we could do without. There are a few basic things that all of us can do to ensure that we stay healthy as we age:
See a doctor
It’s important to get a clean bill of health before making any big changes in your lifestyle such as becoming more active. By getting a check-up, your doctor will be able to detect the presence of any pre-existing conditions and make recommendations for an appropriate exercise program.
Look beyond cardio
After getting the okay from your doctor, consider trying a new strength building workout. You don’t have to be at the gym 24/7 to gain muscle. Consider trying a yoga or Pilates class that helps you to not only gain muscle, but increase flexibility as well.
If you haven’t been active in some time, be sure to take things easy. Don’t underestimate how beneficial something as simple as walking can be for your health. If you are recovering from a recent accident or surgery and working on regaining movement and strength, consult your physical therapist for appropriate exercises.
Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day
Water is essential for the body to function properly. Many people mistake thirst for hunger resulting in dehydration. Don’t forget you can get water from your food, too! Try having some watermelon, cucumber, radishes, spinach, or strawberries – all of which are high in water content. If you are taking a diuretic, be sure to take that into account and increase your water intake as needed.
It’s no secret that your nutritional needs change as you get older. Your metabolism slows down, and your digestive system, as well as your appetite, goes through dramatic changes. There is no “perfect diet” for everyone, but a general rule should be to fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, and the remaining half with healthy proteins. Healthy proteins include beans, eggs, fish, chicken and nuts.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
Getting 8 hours of sleep every night is often easier said than done, especially as you age. Mood changes, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, and more nighttime falls can all be a result of poor sleeping habits. If you struggle with getting a good night’s rest, there are several things you can try:
- Follow a regular schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, every day… even weekends!
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid caffeine.