Updated: Jan 3, 2022
The older we get, the more fragile our bodies become. We can be more susceptible to disease and injury, which can cause disabilities that might make it difficult to function and live independently. In 2016, the number of older adults was already 15% of the population, and it’s predicted to continue increasing. But the growing number of seniors doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be more people to take care of. In fact, as the number of seniors grows, it would be great to remain as independent for as long as possible by making sure that you age healthily. Here are a few ways you can do so:
Stay physically active
Seniors should ideally get 150 minutes of exercise a week. This may seem like a lot, but you can break it down into chunks within a day. Simple exercises like toe taps and heel raises build strength in your legs. Meanwhile, standing on one foot and walking heel-to-toe helps with balance. Even without setting foot in a gym, household chores such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs can already help keep you in shape. But if you would like to be in a community with other seniors, there are various fitness classes especially for seniors.
Maintain good posture
As we age, we experience muscle and bone loss, which affects our posture. You may notice the most significant changes to be in your spine, which may usually end up hunched over. You may also experience aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, and wrists, depending on your activities. Fortunately, you can still practice and maintain good posture through the help of ergonomic accessories. These keep your body in a neutral position to prevent the discomfort, aches, and pains that you feel. For the techy seniors, a tablet stand keeps your hands free and reduces eye and neck strain. So whether you’re watching a movie or on a video call with family or friends, you won’t have to worry about feeling sore from holding it in various positions on your own. Ergonomic chairs are also a great option as they follow the natural curve of the spine, which reduces the pressure on your back and hips.
Follow a healthy diet
Good nutrition helps prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, among others. As the risk for illness increases, eating the right foods can keep them at bay. You’ll need to consume foods that have a lot of nutrients but without a lot of calories, such as fruits and vegetables. Fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese are good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can maintain bone, heart, muscle, and nerve health. Vitamin D works hand-in-hand in calcium since it regulates its absorption — consuming a lot of calcium won’t be much use if you lack vitamin D. Other foods to take note of are whole grains, seafood, eggs, and nuts. Also remember to stay hydrated and follow any medications or supplements ordered by your doctor.
Get regular checkups with a doctor
Regular checkups and preventive screenings should be done at any age, but most especially by seniors because of the increasing risk of illness and injury that comes with age. Your doctor would be able to find health problems early. For example, they could check your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels to see if you’re at risk for hypertension or diabetes. And if you do happen to have a chronic condition, the doctor can check if you’re keeping it under control. The doctor can diet, medication, or other lifestyle changes to help keep you in the best health possible.
With all the risks and special needs that come with age, it’s not exactly easy growing old. However, the extra effort you put in — from staying active to keeping to your doctor’s appointments — will reward you with good health.