For many people, getting older is a hard time and it brings with it a whole host of difficulties. With age, your body and mind will start to decline and this makes keeping healthy and happy more of a challenge.
However, aging is not all bad. Many people feel more confident in themselves as they get older, and if you follow this guide to keeping healthy and happy, you can live a full and satisfying life. Here is what you need to know.
Eat a Balanced Diet
One of the best ways to keep yourself healthy in both body and mind is to eat a balanced diet that is rich in the vitamins and minerals you need. Avoid fatty, sugary, or highly processed foods, and try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables each day – five portions is a good starting point.
You should also make sure you are eating the right amount of protein. Studies suggest that eating a high-protein diet can reduce the risk of declining muscular mass in elderly people. Aim for at least 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of bodyweight (i.e., if you weigh 70kg, you should eat at least 70g of protein every day).
High-protein foods include:
- Dairy products
- Pulses and legumes
Eating well can help maintain bone and muscular strength and will also help to keep you regular and ensure that you are getting the energy your body needs to thrive.
As well as eating well, you should try to keep your body active. The numerous benefits of exercise have been widely touted countless times, but it can be harder to keep active as you age.
If you are finding it hard to get your body moving, start off with gentle exercises that get your heartrate up just a little, then work your way up to something more strenuous. Some good examples of exercise for older adults include:
- A brisk walk
- Seated yoga
- Tai chi
- Lifting light weights
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day if you can. As well as keeping your body in its optimum condition, this will release endorphins into your body, meaning you will feel happier and more positive in your day-to-day life.
Look After Your Teeth
It is easy to overlook your teeth as you get older, but keeping a healthy smile and a full set of gnashers can play a huge role in how you feel about your appearance, and what you are able to eat.
Brush your teeth carefully twice a day, floss regularly, and use fluoride mouthwash to strengthen your pearly whites. You should also visit the dentist regularly. Frequent trips to the dentist can help you deal with tooth loss and will provide you with a good set of dentures if needed.
This will ensure that your teeth look good, boosting your self-confidence, and feel good, allowing you to keep eating your protein and veggies!
Keep an Eye on Your Mental Health
As well as looking after your physical health, you need to make sure that your mental and emotional health is a priority. Depression can be common among the elderly; loss of friends and loved ones can have a long-term impact on a person’s mental health, and loneliness can lead to feelings of isolation that can worsen with time.
If you are noticing symptoms of depression—fatigue, trouble sleeping, irritability, and a general and persistent feeling of sadness—talk to your doctor. Help is available, you just need to ask for it.
Maintain an Active Social Life
An easy way to keep your mental health in check is to maintain an active social life. It is not always easy to do this as you get older, as any children you may have will have grown up and started their own families, and friends often live far away. If you are experiencing mobility issues, it is also harder to get out and about to visit with friends and family.
If you are struggling to maintain your relationships and keep an active social calendar, a great way to counter the problem is to move into a retirement community. Belmont Village offers a variety of senior living options, so whether you need assisted living or memory care, or you prefer to maintain an independent life, you will have access to fun activities and people of a similar age and mindset.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
As you get older, you may notice that your eyesight is starting to decline. Keeping your eyes healthy is so important if you want to remain independent, so make sure you visit your optometrist regularly for eye tests and eye health check-ups.
If you wear the right prescription for your eyes, you are more likely to be able to drive yourself for longer and stay independent for as long a time as possible.
Watch Your Cholesterol
As people get older, their cholesterols levels can increase. High cholesterol is fairly common among the elderly, affecting more than 60% of older women. Too much bad cholesterol can line your arteries with a fatty build-up, which makes it more difficult for blood to flow around your body.
Make sure your cholesterol levels are not too high by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. High-cholesterol foods include:
- Red meats
- Egg yolks
- Dairy products
- Deep-fried foods
- Oily foods
You can lower your cholesterol by avoiding these foods, or at least refraining from eating them too often. This will keep your body healthy for longer, allowing you to feel healthier and happier.
Avoid Cigarettes and Alcohol
Cigarettes and alcohol are obviously bad for you, but many people become more tempted to give into their vices as they get older. If you want to remain healthy well into old age, you must try to resist temptation!
A recent study has suggested that drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol is damaging to the brain. Alcohol is also a depressant, meaning it slows down the brain’s function and results in short-term physical and mental impairment.
Smoking is incredibly damaging to the lungs and respiratory system, and is known to be a leading factor of many types of cancer and other respiratory illnesses.
An easy way to stay healthy as you get older is to avoid drinking too much alcohol and to stop smoking. Consider the health benefits and reduce your reliance on these substances.