Staying Strong and Active: Looking After Your Health Over 65

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to be proactive about protecting our health and wellbeing. Making positive lifestyle choices and getting preventative care can help us stay active and reduce disease risks as we get older. This article explores some key steps.

Stay Physically Active

Getting regular physical activity should be a lifelong priority, but especially as we age. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise like brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or gardening. Strength training twice a week also helps preserve muscle and bone density. Something as simple as a daily 30-minute walk significantly reduces risks of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers. Outdoor activity also provides vitamin D from sunlight. If mobility is an issue, chair exercises or water aerobics are great low-impact options. The key is finding activities you enjoy and building an exercise habit.

Eat a Nutritious, Balanced Diet

Consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds gives the body abundant nutrients to support cells and systems. Limit intake of saturated fats, salt, sugar and processed foods. Staying properly hydrated is also key. Over 65, needs change so get guidance to adapt nutritional needs accordingly. Discuss supplements with your doctor if concerned about deficiencies. Portion control and cooking at home can make healthy eating more manageable.

Support Emotional Wellbeing

Mental and social health significantly impact physical health. Pursue hobbies, volunteer work or classes that stimulate the mind and provide meaning. Spend quality time with family and friends. Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation or yoga to reduce stress. Keep the brain engaged through games, learning new skills or memory exercises. A sense of purpose and community are vital to emotional health as we age. Don’t hesitate to seek counseling if dealing with anxiety, depression or grief.

Stop Unhealthy Habits

If you smoke, quitting can dramatically improve lung function and reduce cancer risks, even later in life. Similarly, limiting alcohol intake to 1 drink or less per day reduces strain on the liver and heart. Consult your doctor about smoking cessation programs or addiction treatment resources if making these changes on your own has been a struggle.

Get Preventative Care

See your doctor at least annually for checkups, screenings and immunizations tailored to your age and risk factors. Get your vision, hearing, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, prostate health (for men) and breast health (for women) monitored. Flu shots are crucial over 65. At-home tests are also now available to track certain health indicators. Discuss what tests are right for you with your physician. Catching issues early makes outcomes better.

Consider At-Home Health Tests

Many reliable at-home health screening tests are now available without a prescription and covered by insurance plans. These can check blood sugar, cholesterol levels, vitamin levels and more. They allow you to better monitor your health between doctor visits. Consider creating a folder or binder with your test results over time. Be sure to share the results with your doctor to discuss next steps when anything is out of normal range.

The keys to healthy aging include staying active, eating nutritiously, supporting emotional health, limiting unhealthy habits, getting preventative care and monitoring health indicators. Small steps can have big impacts over time. With some planning and positive lifestyle choices, your golden years can be vibrant and fulfilling.

Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

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