Living Longer is Not Enough! Here’s How to Stay Healthy on the Journey
People are living longer lives thanks to breakthroughs in medical technology, pharmaceuticals, and a general understanding of how the body works. People who don’t smoke and eat healthy tend to live longer than their counterparts who smoke and do not eat a balanced diet.
Still, making healthy lifestyle choices doesn’t completely negate the side effects of aging. Most of these revolve around various health issues. Luckily, there are ways to combat them.
Arthritis is one of the top health conditions affecting people over the age of 65. Severe arthritis can lead to pain and a lower quality of life for seniors.
Recurring arthritis can make it difficult for you to complete daily tasks like typing, gardening, or even walking. For many, the pain ends up discouraging them from being active, which can lead to further health issues.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, which is an immune disorder that leads to chronic inflammation of the joints, osteoarthritis is caused by daily wear-and-tear of your joints.
The longer you live, the more you move your body, which leads to the degeneration of cartilage cushion between your joints. The most commonly affected areas of the body include the hands, fingers, knees, hips, and spine.
While you can’t reverse osteoarthritis, you can manage the symptoms. One of the best ways to do that is by exercising. Yes, it might sound counterintuitive, but strengthening the muscles around your joints can help relieve stiffness.
Weakening bones and muscles mean senior citizens are more prone to developing sciatica, a painful condition where the sciatic nerve is compressed or inflamed.
The most common cause is disc degeneration, but it can also be due to scoliosis, osteoporosis, spinal osteoarthritis, and other bone-weakening conditions. Obesity can also contribute to the condition and aggravate the issue.
There’s no cure for sciatica, but you can ease the pain and discomfort. One of the best ways to alleviate the pain is by doing some simple stretches and exercises like this one:
You should still consult a doctor and physical therapist to make sure it’s okay for you to perform these actions. Once you get the go-ahead, start slow. If you feel any pain, stop and rest.
Heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over the age of 65. As we age, we become more at risk of developing factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol due to our hardening arteries and veins and weaker hearts and lungs.
Still, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Even past your 60s, you can still manage your risk factors. Some of the best ways include:
As you age, your body can’t pump oxygen to your heart as efficiently as when you were younger. Still, consistent exercise can help keep your heart healthy. You don’t have to do anything too intense, especially if you’re just getting started. Something as simple as walking for 30 minutes can be a great start.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating your vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein not only fuels your body but also helps keep your heart healthy. Avoid foods high in salt, saturated fats, refined sugars, and trans-fats.
Nicotine is highly addictive, and it’s hard to quit a habit, especially if it’s something you’ve been doing for years. Still, smoking has been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, not to mention lung cancer. If you haven’t stopped yet, now is the perfect time to kick the habit.
Around 48 million people around the world suffer from dementia with that number expected to triple by 2050. While it’s common for everyone to have a memory blip from time to time even when you’re young, it can become much more common as you age.
For some, this can develop into more serious issues such as Alzheimer’s. Although there’s not a cure for Alzheimer’s, the best cure is prevention. Keeping your mind sharp can help improve your memory and potentially stave off the onset of dementia in your later years. Some things you can do include:
Even a 30-minute walk or a gentle yoga class can help preserve both your memory and mental function even as you age.
Engage Your Brain
Like physical exercise, it’s also important to exercise your brain. And you don’t have to do anything complicated to keep your brain healthy.
In fact, reading books, playing crossword puzzles, and even playing games can keep your mind sharp. If you want to go a step further, the best way to keep your brain healthy is to learn new things. So, try learning a new language and/or skill. Your brain will thank you.
Even if you haven’t lived your whole life as a health nut, you can make modifications now that will affect both quality and lifespan. With that said, if you want to live a happy life in your 70s, 80s, and even 90s, it’s a good idea to start putting some healthy practices into your lifestyle. It’s never too late to get started with exercise or eating a well-balanced diet.
What are some ways you deal with health issues as a senior citizen? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let’s take the conversation to the comment section below.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.