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Sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Healthy Aging Month iin September s a yearly initiative geared towards creating awareness on the importance of healthy aging. Aimed at encouraging seniors to adopt healthy lifestyles, the observance drives the importance of seniors maintaining physical, social, and mental health.
So, in the run-up to Healthy Aging Month, which is celebrated in September, here we’re focusing on some of the best health tips for seniors, which will help you lead happier, longer lives.
As our biological clocks tick, aches and pains, debilitating illnesses, and life-threatening conditions become all the more real. From high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease to osteoporosis, arthritis, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease, there are a host of conditions seniors become vulnerable to.
However, there is hope on the horizon. Most of these illnesses can be avoided with a combination of several factors, including diet, regular exercise, mental health management, and other lifestyle changes.
The mental and physical health benefits of a well-balanced diet can't be ignored. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a significant number of diseases that seniors typically suffer from are a result of unhealthy diets.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber provides essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Elderly nutritional programs typically include, but are not limited to:
Depending on your health, your doctor may recommend a specific diet. For example, Diabetics should limit their carbohydrate intake. Similarly, seniors who suffer from cardiovascular disease should have less salt.
In addition, portion size is as important as the quality of food. Calories consumed should be proportionate to an individual's metabolic needs. For seniors, this means an average of anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day. What's important is that you avoid high-calorie food that has low nutritional value, like desserts with high sugary content, chips, soda, and alcohol.
Adopting regular exercise into your schedule will help control and mitigate the risk of several health conditions. A good fitness regime is known to keep illnesses like muscle weakness, depression, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and a host of other conditions at bay. And here are some of the ways how regular exercise helps:
Every week, seniors 65 years and over should get in at least:
By incorporating a good amount of physical activity into your daily routine, you will fast-track your way to good health.
Being in good shape isn’t just about eating and exercising right. Mental health is important, as well. According to WHO, as many as 20% of adults aged 60+ suffer from a mental or neurological disorder.
While many seniors have good mental health, several are at risk of developing some neurological or mental disorder further down the line. And the more we age, the more vulnerable we become to experiencing one, or in worst-case scenarios, several conditions at the same time; the most common being dementia, depression, and anxiety.
That said, it’s never too late to make a change. Boosting your brain health will not only help it improve its function but will also enhance your memory as well. So, try at least one brain activity every week, like:
You know the adage – you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? It couldn’t be less true in this case. Age shouldn’t be a criterion that holds you back from achieving overall better quality of life. On the contrary, the older a person gets, the more emphasis they should lay on adopting a healthier lifestyle.
With Health Aging Month in September, try and adopt a few of the health tips mentioned above. In doing so, you won't just be giving yourself the opportunity of enjoying a happier, longer life; you will also be gifting your family, children, and grandchildren the opportunity of making more beautiful memories with you.
Written By Alicia Lam Taracido