As people age, there is a tendency to become more and more sedentary, especially with Covid-19 restricting all of our options when it comes to exercise. If you live in a cold-weather climate, it is even more challenging to get out of the house and exercise. However, it is essential to stay in good health in old age. In addition to exercise, many people look for other natural ways to stay healthy. We have put together the top five natural health tips for senior citizens to help you get healthy and stay healthy.
5 tips for how to stay healthy after 65
- Watch your weight
It is essential to know your ideal weight and that it differs according to your age, sex, height, and other health factors. Talk to your doctor about your optimum weight and if you are not at or close to it, put together a plan to get there. As you get older, your body changes, and it does not take very long for your muscles to weaken and the weight to pile on if your activity levels dip. Being overweight can put you at risk for many different health conditions, including heart disease, joint issues, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and more. It is one thing that you can control that can have a significant positive impact on your overall health. While there are many fad diets and plans, a combination of healthy eating and exercise is generally all you need and is something that you are less likely to try and abandon, like happens with many fad diets. Before you start an exercise program, be sure to talk to your doctor and get their input on the kinds of things you should and shouldn’t do.
As you age, your caloric needs start to change, but your nutritional requirements do not. This means that you need to focus on eating foods that are not high in calories and are very nutritionally-dense to maintain good health. Below are some examples of these types of foods:
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole-grain bread
- lean meats and poultry
- Beans, peas, seeds
- Dark Chocolate
It is easy to incorporate these and other healthy foods into your diet, but it is also vital to limit your intake of others, including the following:
- Food with added sugars
- Solid fats (butter, shortening, lard, etc.)
- Processed meats
- Empty calorie foods like potato chips
Weight, gender, metabolism, and your general activity level impact how nay calories you should consume but try to make the calories you do consume as nutritionally dense as possible.
- Get Screened and Get Your Shots
This is even more important than ever now with the Covid-19 pandemic. If you have not already received your Covid vaccine, talk to your doctor or county health department and get on a list for an appointment to get it. The elderly are the most at risk when it comes to Covid, and getting the vaccine can dramatically reduce the risk of getting infected and its potentially life-threatening complications. However, don’t forget about the other annual vaccines like the flu shot. Staying up to date on all recommended vaccinations can prevent many illnesses. Also, routine health screenings for things like cholesterol, blood pressure, cancer, and others can catch some forms of disease early, reducing the potential impact. Your doctor will give you information on the latest recommendations for which immunizations and screenings are appropriate for you.
- Stay socially active
One of the most common issues that can have a negative impact on seniors is social isolation. Staying socially active with friends and family will help you maintain good health in old age. Maintaining a circle of supportive friends and family has many health benefits and is a big part of ensuring you have a rewarding, active, happy, healthy, and long life. Many studies indicate people with extensive social networks are less likely to have health issues. One way to increase your happiness is to surround yourself with happy people.
According to the CDC, although it’s hard to measure social isolation and loneliness precisely, there is strong evidence that socially isolated or lonely seniors put their health at risk. Recent studies found that:
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
- Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased stroke risk.
- Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
- Try Yoga, Tai Chi, or Meditation
Gentle stretching exercises like yoga or tai chi combine slow movements and deep breathing, helping you relax and stay fit and maintain good health in old age. Benefits include:
- Helping avoid falls
- Ease stress
- Improve balance
- Strengthen muscles
- Increase flexibility
- Lessen arthritis pain
Mindful meditation can benefit your physical and mental health, especially for seniors. It can provide physical and psychological benefits for older adults, including better focus, enhanced calmness, less stress, and improved sleep. Some research studies have shown that meditation can help reduce depression and pain, boost emotional well-being, and even help adults come to terms with the challenges of getting older. A recent study also showed that it might even slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
How to stay healthy after 65
We hope our top five natural health tips for senior citizens have given you some ideas on how to stay healthy as you age and maintain an active lifestyle. The information we provided is not unique concepts and applies to old and young alike. Staying active, eating healthy, watching your weight, staying socially involved, and talking to your doctor about age-appropriate immunization and screenings will help you live a long and happy life.
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