September is Healthy Aging Month, reminding Americans to maintain a healthy lifestyle as older adults. This article provides tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle as an older adult, promoting longevity and overall quality of life.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Older Adults
As you grow older, you go through many changes, and you may need to adjust your lifestyle for healthy aging. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can be keys to good health at any age. Making suitable lifestyle choices may also prevent some health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Health tips include
- Select high-fiber foods like whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, unsalted nuts and seeds, deeply colored vegetables (like green beans), and fruits.
- Avoid fried foods. Choose broiled, grilled, or boiled options instead.
- Drink vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk; milk products; or nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium to help keep your bones strong as you age.
- Drink fluids throughout the day. You may feel less thirsty as you get older, but your body needs fluids to stay healthy and keep you regular. If you have a bladder control problem, check with your doctor about what, how much, and when to drink liquids.
- Ask your health care professional about whether or how you can safely become active or increase your physical activity.
- Pick physical activities that you enjoy and can do on your own or with a friend or group.
- Stay connected with family, friends, and your community.
Keeping Physically Active as an Older Adult
Physical activity is good for your health at every age. If you have never been active, starting regular physical activity now may improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance—being able to move for periods of time without stopping.
Being physically active may help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic health problems as you mature. It may help you reduce symptoms of arthritis, anxiety, and depression. It may help keep diabetes and high blood pressure under control. Being active may also help you live on your own longer by keeping you healthy.
Being active can be hard if you aren’t able to move around well, use a cane or walker, or have serious health problems. But you can find some activities to help you move more. For example, slowly raising your arms or legs on a regular basis may help you feel more flexible.
Physical Activities for Healthy Older Adults
While you do not want to overexert yourself and potentially cause an injury, remaining physically active is essential to healthy aging. Even a little physical activity is better than none at all.
Healthy older adults can focus on physical activities with various benefits, including:
- Improved flexibility
- Improved balance
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved endurance