As you approach your golden years, you have to be careful about protecting your health. There are a lot of changes that take place within your body as you age, and these mean more challenges. Your skin and bones start to behave differently, and it’s easy to lose track of healthy habits. Not only do you need to be vigilant about new health risks, but you need to take steps to ensure you’re aging with your health and happiness in mind.
Not all adults are aware of the many changes and risks they’re prone to as they get older. While you’ll be more susceptible to regular illnesses, there are specific problems you can prevent through a healthy lifestyle. Here are some things to look out for:
Heart – As you age, your heart will be more responsive to your diet and lifestyle. Your heart rate is prone to lowering and the walls of the heart can also thicken, increasing the odds of a heart attack.
Brain – While dementia is a risk for seniors, it’s more common to see regular brain and nerve damage that can cause lowered senses and memory problems.
Bones – Your bones become thinner and frailer in old age, especially for women who are prone to osteoporosis.
Teeth – Tooth enamel naturally decays over the years, making many older people prone to gum disease and cavities.
Skin – Finally, skin naturally loses elasticity over the years, and sun damage can help age skin faster.
While there is no way to 100% protect yourself against these risks above, a healthy lifestyle and diet will go a long way. Your health is your most important asset. Follow these 6 tips to protect yourself against old age.
1. Medical Coverage
Your first step to living a long, happy life is to ensure you have proper medical coverage. Most seniors choose to cover their health expenses through a federal program called Medicare. This keeps the cost of medical coverage down so those 65+ can afford their care.
The earlier you can begin to learn about Medicare and other coverage options, the better. You only have a short enrollment window to receive Medicare, so decide what plan works for you now.
Many seniors choose a private plan through Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, and this allows for more customization and flexibility. Each year there is an increased number of seniors that enroll in one of the Medicare Advantage plans and it is expected to see continued growth in future years as well. “In fact, enrollment has tripled from 5.3 million in 2004 to 17.6 million in 2016. As of 2016, Part C enrollees make up 31 percent of the 57 million Medicare recipients.”
2. Eat Whole, Plant-Based Foods
Your diet gets more important as you age. While you might have been able to get away with eating junk in your youth, those days are numbered. The key to eating well is a balanced diet that doesn’t worry about trends in healthy eating.
No matter your position on vegetarianism or veganism, the science doesn’t lie. Plant-based, whole foods will help you live longer. Choosing a diet based on mostly natural, plant-based foods like fruits and veggies will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Not everyone can go to the gym regularly, but everyone can afford to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Not only is walking a low-resistance, gentle exercise, but it’s full of benefits. It oxidizes blood, thus keeping your brain cells healthy.
Walking will also keep your weight in check, keep muscles and bones strong, and improve your overall mood. Plus, who doesn’t like to get outside and enjoy the day?
4. Eat Fiber
Along with a whole food, plant-based diet, you should also include fiber in your diet. Fiber is a great addition to your daily food intake because it helps you feel full for longer. The key here it to eat whole grain fibers, like whole wheat bread and pasta. These are as healthy as they are delicious.
As you age, you have to watch your digestive system and your cholesterol intake. Fiber will lower cholesterol and keep stop constipation. Adding healthy fiber into your diet is an easy way to protect yourself from heart disease and diabetes.
5. Sleep Well
Sleeping is when your body recovers from the day. Aging makes adults more prone to insomnia, and nobody wants to struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep. To keep your body clock in sync, stick to a sleep schedule, avoid napping, and avoid any caffeine or alcohol in the evening. Not sleeping enough will lead to your body deteriorating quickly, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep.
Your health is worth more and more as you age. If you want to lead a long, healthy life, you need to get serious about the tips above. From choosing the right health insurance to understanding your own sleep schedule, a little effort will go a long way.