September is Healthy Aging Month. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is this: you are never too old to live healthy. And hey, September is also my birthday month.
When we’re young, we take good health for granted, thanks to our natural stamina. Then, some minor problem crops up. Sooner or later we all reach the point when we start worrying about our health. But the fact is you do not have to wait that long to build the foundation for healthy aging.
So how about starting right now, no matter what age or what state of health you are at, to take steps to maintain your health and vitality!
Everyone deserves to enjoy their golden years. By adopting healthy habits right now, it is possible to prevent or at least delay and control disease. Poor health and a loss of independence are not attractive options and do not have to be a normal consequence of aging.
It is never too late to develop those healthy habits. Research proves that a healthy lifestyle is far more important than your genetic makeup in helping you avoid poor health as you grow older. Who wants to be frail and delicate? No, not fashionable! Keeping health problems at bay also helps save money – even if you have health insurance, healthcare is expensive! I’ve seen my family members suffer from chronic diseases due to a lack of self-care and it is heart-breaking to see the loss of self-esteem that comes with depending on others for routine stuff. On the other hand, I’ve also had the privilege of seeing my Grandmother live to a happy healthy 87 – she was very disciplined when it came to her health.
So let’s not wait. Here are six…
healthy aging tips:
Did you know that many elderly people cease to get involved in any physical activity? Then again, there are those stalwarts who go out for a brisk walk, come hail or storm. Physical activity is critical to health, even if you have a health problem. I remember when my Mom underwent surgery, after the anesthesia wore off, she was advised to get up and walk a few lengths of the hospital corridor. In the normal course of life, exercise must be a part of our routine. It helps even people with heart health issues in ways that medicine cannot. If you have health problems and are nervous about starting a new exercise routine, talk to your doctor about safe activity tips.
I am guilty of skipping breakfast sometimes when I am engrossed in work and have to meet a deadline. I know I shouldn’t. I know I should practice what I preach. It is important to eat healthy, nutrient rich foods as we grow older.
Smoking kills. That should be enough said, but even at this point, kick the butt. It is never too late to quit. Don’t think you are too far gone or have been smoking for too long. No matter when you quit, you start enjoying the health benefits almost right away – even if you already suffer from a smoking related disease. Did you know smokers are at twice the risk of dying of heart disease than nonsmokers? When you quit, though, the risk reduces. So do it now. Quit smoking. If you don’t smoke, celebrate.
Get regular health screenings and vaccines
Don’t miss your doctors’ appointments for regular health tests, screenings and vaccines. If you see any changes in your health, let your doctor know. Also discuss any mood changes such as feelings of sadness, loneliness, a lack of energy, or general lethargy.
Ideally, give up on alcohol. But if that is not an option, be safe when you drink alcohol. As you grow older, the body reacts to alcohol in a different way. Even a little can result in impairing your judgment, coordination and reaction time. If you are on medications, don’t ask! Alcohol and medication don’t mix. This might be a good time to talk to your doc about the medication you are on, and your alcohol use.
Stay connected with your friends. Interacting with others regularly keeps depression and loneliness away. In fact, start a hobby or join a special interest group. Volunteer.
You’re probably thinking – oh, I knew all that. But you know what? We are all guilty of too much to do and letting our health take a backseat. Tomorrow is often far away. Take action now!
Don’t put your health at risk. I’ll be writing more about healthy aging through this month with special reference to women’s health.
A big tip: Don’t get suckered by the million ads for products that promise a cure for health problems. It is easy to be desperate, but painful to live through the consequences.
What steps are you taking to protect your health?
Do you think it is too early to worry?