Certain ailments, like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis, tend to come up later in life. Heredity, environment, and socioeconomic status come into play in the development of these diseases. Another factor is your lifestyle.
Lifestyle plays a significant role in the development of age-related diseases, and it’s one factor that you can control to stay healthy for a longer time. Following these healthy lifestyle practices can help boost your overall well-being and keep away certain illnesses that commonly occur as you age.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
When you hit your 50s, you should be more conscious about what you eat and drink. Your body has already started to slow down, and your metabolism is not the same as it was in your 20s.
For that matter, you need to focus on high-fiber fruits and vegetables and whole grains, as well as food rich in antioxidants. You need to avoid foods with too much sugar and unhealthy fat.
Eating more nutritious foods aids in improving bodily functions, boosting the immune system, and protecting against cell damage, helping prevent illnesses and to manage chronic conditions.
Without a job to keep them busy, many older adults don’t get a lot of physical activity in their day. To stay healthy and keep the body and the mind strong, it’s vital for older adults to get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
That’s equivalent to 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. It’s no secret that regular exercise strengthens muscles, bones, and the immune system.
To reach 150 minutes of exercise weekly, you can integrate physical activities, like walking, cycling, swimming, or aerobic exercises, in your everyday routine.
For seniors, contracting a common illness can be deadly. Minor illnesses can lead to severe complications or secondary infections. Staying up-to-date on vaccinations will help reduce the risk of common illnesses and secondary infections.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults who are 65 years or older should get immunized against shingles and pneumococcal diseases and infections, including, meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis.
Stay Away from Tobacco, Alcohol, Drugs
Many studies have proven how tobacco, alcohol, and drugs can do devastating damage to your health. Smoking, whether firsthand, secondhand, or thirdhand, can lead to a higher risk of respiratory illnesses, heart failure, lung cancer, and stroke.
Long-term alcohol abuse can cause damage to your heart and liver and lead to immune system disorders and certain cancers. Further, alcohol exposure over a long stretch of time causes the frontal lobe of the brain to shrink.
Drugs, like cocaine, meth, and heroin, can worsen chronic conditions and lead to a bevy of physical and mental illnesses. Because they are addictive substances, your body can develop a dependence on them after constant use.
Manage and Relieve Stress
Chronic stress can be as damaging as an unhealthy diet or the lack of exercise. It can lower your resistance against common illnesses, lead to serious health problems, and exacerbate existing health conditions.
Keep yourself stress-free by avoiding toxic situations and people. Start a new hobby to have an outlet for your emotions, energy, and creativity. Learn a new skill to keep yourself mentally sharp and busy and meet new people along the way.
Loneliness afflicts many older adults, and this has led to an increase in their risk of certain illnesses, like heart disease and common infections. Being part of a community can help you find a new purpose in life and meet friends who share your hobbies and interests.
Don’t Skip Annual Doctor Visits
As you grow older, it becomes more important to see your doctor even when you’re not sick. By the age of 55, there are certain health checks and medical exams, which use advanced medical sensors and equipment, older adults must undergo to check for medical conditions.
These screenings include a blood-pressure check, blood test for lipids, eye exam, hearing test, and bone-density test. For men, there’s an additional prostate cancer test; for women, mammogram, Pap smear, and pelvic exam.
The Bottom Line
Growing older is part of life, but age-related illnesses don’t have to be. If you take care of your health, you can reduce your risk of developing these diseases and live a healthier and full life as you age.
If you have existing medical conditions, maintaining healthy habits can help manage your illness so that you can live a normal life for longer.