Wouldn’t it be glorious to travel back in time and speak to the younger version of ourselves in order to warn of the dangers to our physical bodies associated with bad habits, and also to reinforce the importance of good habits? Unfortunately, a time machine has not been invented yet, so lessening the impact of our past choices, while making healthy choices now, is the best option available.
The first step to creating healthy habits is to understand how the body is impacted as it ages. It is natural for the following body parts to decline as we age:
- Digestive System
There are steps that can be taken in order to minimize the long-term impact on each of these parts of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following steps are suggested:
- To improve brain function and help produce new cells, continue to learn and experience new things.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants, as scientists believe that they have a positive impact and can delay neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
- Always protect and cover skin that is exposed to the sun, and stay hydrated.
- Speak to a doctor about getting the shingles vaccine, in order to boost immunity. Seniors over 50, who had chickenpox as a child, are at higher risk of developing shingles later in life.
- Osteoporosis is often undetected, and affects women more than men. Getting enough vitamin D and calcium, being physically active, and not smoking are a few ways to lower the risk of weakening and breaking bones.
- Decline in vision is inevitable with age, which is why regular eye exams are necessary to help detect early signs of eye disorders, such as glaucoma and cataracts.
- Some hearing conditions cause a decline in ability to hear, such as Presbycusis. Being mindful of exposure to loud noises is important in order to preserve hearing, while hearing aids can improve the quality of hearing after it is affected.
- Eating a diet that is rich in fiber can help with digestion issues. Whole-grain foods, vegetables, and fruits that are high in fiber, along with drinking plenty of water, can have a positive impact on the digestive system, as well as overall health.
- Visiting the dentist for cleanings every 6 months will keep plaque from building up, along with brushing and flossing twice a day between visits.
- Incontinence is a common age-associated condition, especially among women; for men, the prostate enlarges with age, causing difficulty releasing urine. Speak to a doctor about medications that are available, and drink more water and less caffeine to improve overall bladder health.
Staying active and making positive lifestyle changes are the keys to living a long and healthy life, according to the National Institute on Aging. While we can’t travel back in time to make better choices, we can make conscious decisions to maintain our health and not further damage our physical bodies.
One thing that experts agree on is that a healthy diet that includes moderate exercise is imperative in order to live a longer and healthier life. Following these suggested tips reduces risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. At MorningSide of College Park, there are various physical and educational activities each month such as Flower Planting on June 6th, and a Men’s Health Awareness talk on June 13th.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan or making major changes that can affect health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden