While September may indicate the beginning of fall for most, it also represents Healthy Aging Month. It’s essential to shed light on senior citizens and their health all year round, but it’s especially crucial during this time of year. Aging is inevitable and continues to affect us with every second passing by.
If you’re a senior or know someone who is, here are a few ways to take on aging in the healthiest way possible.
Choose Smart Food Options
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re nourishing your body is by making a point to incorporate healthy food options into your diet. Your body doesn’t just take care of itself; it’s a combination of things that help it function. The food put into your body has a direct impact on how you feel and operate. As you age, your body needs different nutrients than when you were 18. Calcium, for example, is especially crucial because your bones get weaker as you get older. Getting an adequate amount of calcium helps to strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of potential breaks or fractures. It has also been shown that low calcium intake contributes to osteoporosis as well.
In addition to calcium, you want to ensure you’re getting enough protein and healthy grains. As we age, our muscles break down over time; protein helps fight this and sustain the muscle mass you already have. It also helps with weight management because proteins help you stay and feel fuller for longer periods of time. Lastly, make sure you’re incorporating healthy grains. These contain high amounts of fiber to help digestion, as well as help maintain or improve heart health.
Get Enough Sleep
Another pillar of aging well is your sleep. Ensuring you have a great night’s sleep sets you up to start your day with a full battery so you can take on all the day has to offer. While the amount of sleep you’re getting is important to your health, the quality of your sleep is also important. For starters, you should get between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Remember that aging adults tend to get up earlier, so getting tucked into bed at a reasonable hour is a great place to start. A large hurdle most will face in their life is battling for good sleep. Several things can keep you up at night. From irritating pains or outside commotion to certain medicines that may cause insomnia, there can be several things holding you back from a great night of sleep. Thankfully, there are options for you. This list below offers some helpful tips and tricks to help you get a good night’s rest:
● Develop A Sleep Pattern: Going to bed and waking up simultaneously every day helps your body develop a pattern. Over time, your body will get adjusted to this and start to expect both when bedtime is and when it’s time to wake up.
● Decompress Before Bed: Developing a bedtime routine can work to relax your mind and help you destress. For example, try taking a hot bath, reading a book, or listing to some relaxing music thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime to unwind from your day.
● Avoid Caffeine: It may be tempting to grab some form of caffeine, especially later in the day, to avoid an afternoon slump. But, you should avoid any caffeine after 12 p.m. to ensure it has enough time to run its course through your system and not negatively affect your sleep.
See Your Doctors Regularly
As the days pass, we become more and more prone to medical conditions. This is just the nature of being a human. Keeping organized and staying up to date on all of your regular doctor’s appointments is amongst the best ways to ensure you’re aging in the healthiest way you can. Your primary care doctor is at the top of this list. Seeing them regularly aids in prevention, as well as maintaining your current well-being. In addition, your dermatologist and optometrist should be on your yearly schedule.
Dermatologists play a major role in protecting your skin, especially in preventing and identifying skin cancer. Because you’ve likely spent many years outside, taking in all that vitamin D, your skin has been on the front lines of all those sun rays. While everybody is at risk, aging white males are developing skin cancer at a higher rate. Seeing your dermatologist regularly, even before noticing issues with your skin, is key here.
It’s also a good idea to stay up to date with your eye exams. At this point, it shouldn’t be surprising that your eyes also age. Scheduling and sticking to your appointments, as with the rest of your medical visits, is crucial. From regularly updating your prescription to keeping your look fresh with different glasses and frames, your trip to your optometrist can handle it all. Having healthy eyes makes it, so you never miss seeing anything your life has to offer.
Aging can be hard at some points, but it can also be the most beautiful time of your life. September allows us to shed extra light on the importance of healthy aging. Whether you’re a senior or know somebody who is, make sure they’re utilizing these tips, especially this month, to ensure we’re all aging gracefully and healthily.