With age comes perks like wisdom, maturity, and inner strength. Those extra years also bring on a need to pay closer attention to your health, however, making the ability to follow healthy aging tips a must.
The way you take care of your body when you are young will determine how it performs when you are older. The older we get, the more we are at risk for health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. If we want to avoid a life of prescription pills, we have to start the process of healthy aging now. Our bodies rely on us to provide the kind of nutrients, self-care, and well-being required to keep us running like well-oiled machines.
The good news is that your body was built to last, but there are several things you can do to increase the longevity and quality of your life. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about aging with helpful, realistic healthy aging tips.
What To Avoid When Searching for Healthy Aging Tips
The health and wellness industry is booming, and that means an ever-larger flow of ideas, products, tips, and tricks that are supposed to help ease or “cure” various facets of our lives. The truth is that not all tips, products, or processes are created equal, and that makes it important to know which you should avoid using.
Here’s a quick list of what to watch for when doing your best to age healthfully:
- Some products claim to be quick fixes, but you should always be wary of anything that claims to be a miracle cure.
- You should expect to make lifestyle and diet changes to improve your wellness.
- Balance is key in healthy aging, as too much of one element but not of another can leave gaps in your wellness.
- You will want the assistance of a qualified nutritionist or naturopathic medicine practitioner to help you make the appropriate decisions for your lifestyle.
Healthy aging is a process that requires you to make conscious decisions, and that process is as difficult as you make it. Working with women’s health expert to have all of your health-related bases covered and that you are getting everything you need will make a huge difference, meaning you will know exactly how to achieve proper balance.
Healthy Aging Tips: The Basics
There are many elements involved in healthy aging, including the foods you consume, nutrients you take in, rest and relaxation you enjoy, and the amount — and types — of exercise you get each day or week. It can be difficult to know if your habits are healthy or hindering your body’s ability to function at its best. Here are some of the factors that impact healthy aging:
Your diet provides the fuel with which you live your life, so it’s vital that you pay attention to it when making choices to age healthfully. If you aren’t eating right, you’ll eventually burn out. As you probably know, mobility can become a major issue as you get older. Luckily, a proper diet can help with this.
Your diet should consist mainly of foods like:
- Good fats (avocados, fatty fish, eggs, etc.)
- Unprocessed carbohydrates
The other part to keep in mind is that it’s essential to modify your overall diet instead of just incorporating one or two of these foods. An examination of more than 54,000 women found that those who consumed a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments compared to women who did not maintain a healthy diet. A higher intake of vegetables and fruits and a lower intake of sugary drinks, trans-fats, sodium, and alcohol were associated with lower rates of physical impairments.
What you put into your body determines what you get out of it. Work with a qualified physician now to assess what you’re eating and the improvements you can make.
Another thing to keep an eye on is your nutrient intake. Many people suffer from micronutrient deficiency. Our bodies can work overtime to make up for it when we’re young, but this affects us more when we get older.
Here are three of the most common nutrient deficiencies in older adults:
1. Vitamin B12
The risk of vitamin B12 deficiency increases with age, and 6.9% of U.S. adults aged 51 to 70 years and 15% of those over 70 were B12 deficient in 2018. Advanced age can make it harder to absorb the B12 found in meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs, too, making it important to try increasing your intake of foods rich in B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, neuropathy, and cognitive impairment, symptoms doctors might wave away as signs of old age. It is always a good idea to consider whether a nutrient deficiency might be to blame and should be considered.
2. Vitamin D
This nutrient is necessary for bone health and skeletal muscle performance, yet a large number of people are deficient. Osteoporosis is prevalent in older populations, making it critical that you keep up with your Vitamin D requirements. Roughly 30% of people over the age of 65 fall every year, for example, with 10% to 15% of these falls resulting in a fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation conducted studies on over 30,000 participants who had reported 195 hip fractures and 2231 total fractures. The study found that calcium and vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of total fractures by 15% and the risk of hip fractures by 30%.
Magnesium is important to your body for many reasons. It plays a part in regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure – all issues many older generations battle. Magnesium also works to keep your heart healthy. Studies of over 300,000 participants found that higher levels of magnesium in the blood corresponded with a 30% lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Magnesium also helps to lower blood pressure for people with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Regulating your micronutrient consumption isn’t something that you should only worry about later in life. Healthy aging is a result of early self-care. It’s never too soon to prepare your body for the life that lies ahead of you.
We have all heard that our bodies need to move, no matter our age, but many have likely not heard that our bone health depends on it. As we get older, we have to stay active to maintain muscle mass. A study conducted by Osteoporosis International found that physical exercise positively influences muscle mass and function in individuals 60 years and older, and has the most positive effect on improving gait speed, balance, and other tests of physical performance.
Because it can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, you have to get used to moving around and staying active now so that you’re already in the habit later. You don’t need to be running marathons at 80 years old to stay healthy (but kudos to you if you want to), though. All that matters is that you keep moving.
People often say “you can sleep when you’re dead,” but why deprive yourself of it when something so wonderful exists? Our bodies need to shut down and recover every night, but many of us don’t allow it to. This, of course, is not good for us long term.
With more than 50% of older individuals experiencing insomnia, it’s time to realize the role of sleep in our daily lives and our overall health. Sleep is responsible for some of the most important restorative functions in our bodies, such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis. These occur almost exclusively during sleep, so you must give your body the chance to restore itself. It’s easy to get out of rhythm when it comes to your sleep schedule, so you have to be proactive.
Reach Out Today to Discuss Healthy Aging Tips With A Professional
Healthy aging is a result of self-care when you’re younger. It’s never too early to start preparing your body for the days ahead, but there will come a time when it’s too late. Beginning now, before you need to, will mean you are prepared for whatever lies ahead. Being disciplined to follow these healthy aging tips may take time, but the more you can make it part of your daily routine, the more success you will have overtime.
If you’re ready to start your path toward a long and healthy life, then it is time to find a partner physician who can assist you along the way. Dr. Karen Threlkel is a naturopathic physician with a special emphasis on women’s health and natural healing who is dedicated to helping patients of all ages. Contact her office today to set up an appointment to discuss healthy aging tips and the steps you can take to embrace your next stage of life.