Your health needs change and can be more complicated as you age, so it’s important to take steps to maintain your independence and happiness. Preventative care is an important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as you grow older — and that means taking a proactive approach to ensure your physical, mental and social well-being.
Consider these five tips for maintaining a healthy, happy day-to-day life as you age:
- Stay sharp
Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In order to stay in tip-top mental shape, keep challenging yourself! Try cooking new foods, studying a new language, or learning a new skill such as using the latest popular gadget. Jigsaw, crossword and Sudoku puzzles are also great ways to encourage mental stimulation — plus, you can often find them free online!
- Keep connected
Socialization is a huge component to senior well-being. Staying connected with your community helps you feel more upbeat and positive. If your family is separated by distance, embrace technology like Skype or Facetime for some face-to-face contact. Volunteering your time is another great way to connect with your community, and it is personally rewarding too!
- Boost vitality
Eating well and staying active are timeless pillars of a healthy lifestyle. As you age, your diet should be high in fiber and low in fat. Practice exercises that maintain your strength and promote cardiovascular health for a huge boost to your immune system. Increased vitality can help alleviate depression, improve your memory and even help you sleep better.
- Prevent disease
Your immune system weakens with age, which means that simple conditions like the common cold can progress to more serious infections. Avoid people or situations that can make you more susceptible to sickness, and practice healthy habits such as washing your hands frequently and getting annual flu shots. Schedule your preventative screenings in advance and mark them on your calendar for months or even years to come. These screenings are essential for detecting diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which can often go undetected.
- Select supplements
As you age, your body may not be as efficient at absorbing important vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat. Your doctor may recommend introducing supplements into your diet to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs. Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6 are common supplements that you can take in pill form when you grow older.
- Thrive throughout your golden years by feeling good and thinking clearly.
Talk with your doctor to determine what types of activities you are best suited for and to keep an eye on any developing health concerns. For more information, visit El Camino Health’s Senior Health services for details about specialty programs, classes and events for you and your loved ones.
This article first appeared in the February 2020 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.