Health And Wellbeing In Old Age
You’ve heard the advice – take care of your health now to increase your opportunity for a healthy future. But what does this look like when you’re over 50? Here are 5 things to do now to set the stage for health in old age.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Spend time with people you love
- Improve your sleep
- Get regular medical check-ups
- Stay active
The importance of a healthy diet
It is all too easy to allow the middle-age spread to take over. If you have put on weight, you have contributed to your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. The key to maintaining a healthy weight has far more to do with diet than exercise. The following guidelines will help prevent this dramatic effect of aging on the body:
- Eat foods that are high in fiber and low in fat, such as fruit and vegetables.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol – a glass or two of wine is OK, but it can quickly add unnecessary weight and risk for heart disease if you have diabetes or a family history of the disease. Healthier options are white wine with fresh fruit, spirits without alcohol (gin, vodka, brandy, or sherry), or water with lemon or lime juice added to it.
- Cut down on sugary and fatty foods, such as cakes, pies, biscuits, chocolate, and sweets. These cause weight gain and also raise your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Avoid foods that contain trans fats – these are hidden fats in processed food that increase your heart disease risk.
- Avoid deep-fried foods like fries. These are high in fat and salt, and the deep frying process creates trans fats.
Spending time with people we love
Studies show that lonely people at middle age are more likely to become lonely at older ages. Spending time with friends and family is proven to increase happiness, mental health, and general well-being. As you get older you may consider senior living communities local to you so that you can stay close to family and friends. There is an added benefit – spending time with the people you care about can make you feel younger in your mind and body.
Improve your sleep
Poor sleep puts your physical and mental health at risk. Research has found that those who have a poor night’s sleep are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Sleep also reduces the risk of cancer and death from other chronic illnesses.
Regular medical check-ups
It is important to get regular check-ups. This can be in the form of a general check such as a blood test for cholesterol or more specific tests for cancer, diabetes, or other chronic conditions. Some tests can be done (usually only once) to identify risks early before they become dangerous, with no further treatment needed.
Staying physically active is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Stay active for a lifetime and enjoy a better quality of life as well as greater independence. Not only will staying active help maintain weight (diet is more important), but it will help with maintaining flexibility, core strength, and balance.
Follow these tips, and you will feel younger for longer.