As you age, your body changes. It becomes more efficient, casting off things you may want, but no longer need, like the ability to procreate or run the 100-meter dash. This doesn’t mean that you are now “disabled,” you’re simply different, entering a new form in your later, wiser years. While we may slow down physically, you can still be active and healthy and live with a joy and quality of life that you experienced when younger. Just develop some healthy habits and be mindful of how to navigate the changes to come.
Our Bodies Change as We Age
You’ll notice a variety of changes that occur between the middle-age years and your senior years. You may:
- Lose muscle mass
- Lose bone density
- Experience slower reflexes
- Experience hearing and vision loss
- Notice some digestive system dysfunction
- Notice some sexual dysfunction
- Suffer some mental distress
You may think it’s too late once you start to experience these changes. However, even at an advanced age, our body and mind will respond to the stimuli and activities that promote healthy aging.
Staying active is perhaps the one thing everyone can think of to do to stay healthy. It can also be the least expensive and most fun. As long as you have a decent pair of shoes and a street in front of your house, you can stay active by walking through the neighborhood.
Activities like walking or golf or more strenuous exercises will help maintain the muscles. Some studies have shown that some exercise will have a positive impact on bone density. It can also reduce stress and improve cardiovascular function, which may help erectile dysfunction in some men.
Eating to be Fit
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health whether we’re a high school athlete or an active senior citizen. How well you eat affects all bodily functions, mental and physical. As you age, you should pay more attention than ever to what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat.
You’ll likely benefit from a diet that is balanced nutritionally and contains raw fruits, vegetables and grains. Your protein sources should be low on fat and bad cholesterol. Eat a variety of vegetables to help you get the vitamins and minerals you need. Avoid processed breads and cereals for your grain sources, though granola and muesli will be a great addition to your morning routine.
Seniors should pay special attention to hydration levels. Water will flush toxins, improve energy levels and assist with blood flow. Drinking enough water is especially important for seniors who take medication, as some medicines can cause dehydration.
Staying physically healthy as a senior doesn’t require drastic changes like joining a gym or becoming vegan. There are simple things you can do to live a long, healthy life.
It is as important for aging healthily to keep the wheels of the mind turning as much as it is to keep the legs churning. For example, you can read instead of watching television. It is important to engage with things like puzzles, brain teasers and even some kinds of computer games. We want to keep the mind nimble for accessing memories and searching for strategies to solve problems.
You should stay emotionally fit as well. Mental and emotional well-being contribute to good health, especially for seniors. Stay in contact with friends and family members. Watch as many comedies as you do news programs. Do what you can to maintain a positive outlook, and avoid isolation from others. If phone calls present a problem due to hearing loss, a free amplified phone from FTRI could be the solution. FTRI phones are available to any Florida resident over the age of three who has a hearing loss and/or speech disability.
As studies continue to underscore the importance of remaining engaged in community during the aging process, effective telecommunications play an increasingly critical role in making that possible. Combined with healthy choices related to diet and exercise, you’ll be giving your body and mind the support they need to maintain the quality of life you desire.