Aging is a continuous and natural process. As you age, you will start to deteriorate mentally and physically. According to WHO, aging results from the building up; of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage with time.
Such biological changes can cause a gradual decrease in physical and mental health which can occur as a risk factor for disease and ultimately death. Multiple other factors, for example, retirement, relocation, and demise of family or a friend, can contribute to aging.
Aging may also affect the performance tasks you could easily do before, and they may seem laborious and strenuous now. Whether they are memory tasks, heavy workload, or running for long distances, you will feel that you can not perform these activities as you did before.
According to a study published in NCBI, aging decreases physical activity level and functional fitness in both men and women. It also states that this change also occurs because of changes in muscle mass, body fat percentage, flexibility, and endurance of aged people. However, it is natural to feel this way, and understanding that you are just aging can help you cope with it more healthily.
Aging is an inevitable process, but several tips can help you stay healthy as you age. Some of them are as follows:
If you face multiple problems and need help with day-to-day tasks like cooking and cleaning, consider looking into the seniors community services. Such centers help elderly citizens with chronic health conditions, financial problems, and addiction issues and provide career pathways, legal help, and housing.
Numerous government centers also provide benefits to the elderly. Some of the specific services include assisted living waiver programs, nursing or home care, health, safety classes, work training programs, and justice.
Therefore, you can opt for many social and community services that help you with basic and complex chores.
Eat and drink healthy:
To minimize the results of aging-related mental and physical issues, you must eat a healthy diet. According to NCBI, diet is one of the modifiable factors in preventing age-related diseases and preserving quality health status during aging.
Maintaining a proper diet is the best way to ‘’healthy age’’. Avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and carcinogenic properties which promote inflammation and lower your immune function. According to the CDC, you should make healthy eating choices like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
Fruits and vegetables are also fantastic sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and keep your body healthy as you age. According to Healthline, diets rich in fruits, lean meats, and vegetables boost your immune system and ward off bacteria and viruses causing illnesses.
As you age, your body will react differently to different things, for example, alcohol. According to Drink Wise Australia, your body shows reduced muscle mass and high-fat concentrations as you age. That causes low alcohol tolerance and high blood alcohol concentration.
Furthermore, NIH states that chronic alcohol consumption can result in premature aging, fractures and falls, medication reactions, and Alzheimer’s disease. Hence, you should monitor or limit your alcohol consumption and talk to your doctor about the safe ranges of alcohol for your age.
Keep track of your mental health:
Aging affects psychological and cognitive function as it progresses. It causes changes in brain function, which causes many neurological, mental, metabolic, skeletal, and substance use illnesses. According to NIH, aging causes brain shrinkage, molecular changes in the brain and blood vessels, and altering levels of neurotransmitters and hormones.
Such changes contribute to numerous mental health illnesses and neurological problems in the elderly. According to WHO, mental and neurological diseases make up 6.6% of total disabilities for older individuals. Over 15% of them suffer from a mental health disorder.
Keeping your mental health healthy is quite crucial to maximizing your brain health. As per the top professionals like The Renue Medical Center & Laboratory monitoring your stress and anxiety levels, sleep cycle, and physical activity status can help you maintain your mental health.
You can also add complementary therapies, like meditation, to help you stabilize your mental health. According to the EOC Institute, meditation can help with dementia, depression, improving focus, and long-term stress in senior citizens.
Staying physically active can help you to delay aging and manage chronic diseases. According to CDC, staying active helps to improve balance and stamina, reduces falls and fractures, and enhances brain health.
A well-balanced exercise plan includes cardio, aerobic exercises, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises. Exercise assists in muscle development and makes it powerful for you to perform day-to-day activities. According to CDC, adults aged 65 or older need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise for a week.
Older adults should avoid a sedentary lifestyle and move throughout the day. However, if you have a chronic illness and feel difficulty exercising, try physical activities that your health condition allows.
Get plenty of rest:
During old age, the production of new cells is slow, and the body needs more time to make cells or repair old ones. One way to speed up this process is to get plenty of rest.
Sleep is a way your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. According to Healthline, sleep results in a well-built immune system and improves memory and concentration in the older brain.
Hence, you should always get at least seven or nine hours of sleep every night. However, if you have trouble sleeping at night, talk to your doctor for possible causes and treatments.
Quit tobacco use:
Smoking and chewing tobacco affect the lungs and cause progressive aging. According to NIH, smoking increases vision loss and blindness, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
A study in NIH also shows that smoking also causes type-2 diabetes and cognitive impairment in older adults, which is very hard to control. Hence, to stop aging, you must quit tobacco use.
Get regular checkups:
Aging causes molecular changes and slow repairing of cells resulting in illness that can present at any time of the year. Hence, scheduling a yearly checkup will keep you healthy. Always talk to your doctor about any new issues you face, for example, insomnia.
Health conditions like diabetes and hypertension are quite frequent in older adults and can go unnoticed. According to Healthline, regular visits to the doctor, early diagnosis, and treatment can prevent long-term complications.
Your immune system weakens with age making it harder to fight viruses and bacteria. Hence, regular checkups can update you and your doctor about any persisting or future infections and manage them early and efficiently.
Aging is a slow and continuous process that results in many physical, mental, psychological, and behavioral changes. However, proper diet, rest, physical activity, and treatment can slow aging, improve your health, and aid in a happy and healthy life.