As you move through life, your body will inevitably change with time. Bones get more brittle, muscle mass decreases, digestion slows down. But the extent to which these happen depend in large part on the state of your overall health.
Making your health a priority throughout your life will have positive consequences on your aging process, and it’s never too late to start having an impact by taking these steps.
- Eat a low fat/low cholesterol diet based on whole foods, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish, whole grains and plenty of vitamins A, C, E and B12, folate and other nutrients.
- Be as active as possible through activities like walking, yoga, swimming, biking (either stationary or outdoor) and golfing without a cart. Muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights, body weight-bearing movements and some forms of tai chi are also recommended.
- Keep on schedule with your exams and appointments with doctors, dentists and other medical professionals, who can catch problems early. Follow your doctors’ instructions on all medications and other preventive measures they suggest.
- Stay connected to family and friends by whatever means are available. Seek out new friends and experiences through church or special-interest groups, volunteering, fitness or educational classes. Doing this can benefit your mood and lower stress, as well as create more opportunities for physical activity.
- Engage your mind. Games from crosswords and sudoku to specialized brain training activities, including video games and apps, are designed to build brain activity and connections for all ages. Take classes, keep up with world events and learn to accept change as part of life.
- Make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep. Sleep patterns often shift as we get older, as in getting up and going to bed earlier, which is usually not a problem as long as you get the recommended amount. However, many older adults have trouble falling and staying asleep, which is something worth asking your medical provider about, as our sleep needs do not change with age.