September is Healthy Aging Month which is the perfect time for older adults to prioritize all things health and wellness. Healthy Aging Month was established 30 years ago with the goal to “draw attention to the positive sides of growing older.” It began with Carolyn Worthington, the Editor-in-Chief of Healthy Aging Magazine and Executive Director of Healthy Aging.
“Choosing healthy lifestyle options is important no matter what your age. Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you genuinely would like to do,” Worthington said. “And try it! Who says you must follow a career related to your school studies? Who says you can’t start your own home business later in life? Why not choose a new athletic goal (5K, anyone?), or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!” (Source: Healthy Aging®)
Join us in celebrating Healthy Aging Month! Here are a few ideas to get started:
Exercise is a cornerstone of healthy aging. It lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease and helps to maintain muscle strength as you get older. Walking is a great form of exercise as it comes with a low risk of injury, and it gets you outside so you can enjoy nature. A bit of strength training is advisable as well. Need some extra motivation? Pair up with a friend to keep each other accountable or check out the fitness and exercise classes happening at your local senior center or local fitness center.
It’s never too late to start making healthier food choices! By eating better, you can increase your energy, prevent illness, and improve your overall well-being. You may consider adopting a Mediterranean diet which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins. A low salt diet may be the way to go if you are trying to improve heart health. Learn more about healthy eating for older adults. Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor or a certified nutrition specialist before making drastic changes to your diet.
Get Health Screenings
The risk of disease goes up as we get older, but early detection is key in staying healthy. Go to a doctor regularly to ensure your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are under control. Make sure you are on a regular schedule for screenings including eye exams, bone density scans, mammograms, and more. These routine health screenings can are a great tool for taking preventative care of your body.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Mental health is just as important as physical health, so make sure to prioritize your emotional and psychological well-being. Create a strong support system by staying in close touch with friends, family, or speaking with a mental health professional. Fight depression by engaging in activities you enjoy, or take up a new hobby such as painting or learn how to play an instrument. It’s also important to stay social, so consider volunteering or joining a book club!
Get Plenty of Sleep
A healthy amount of sleep will keep you energized, alert, and focused. Getting a proper amount of sleep regularly is beneficial for preventing illness, maintaining a healthy weight, improving memory, and reducing the risk of dementia and other diseases. Pain, illness, and certain medications can get in the way of your ability to get a good night’s sleep. If this is the case, talk to your doctor to find out changes you can make to improve sleep quality.
Dump Bad Habits
Alcohol contributes to premature aging and poor heart health. Smoking is detrimental to the heart and respiratory system. Older adults may also become dependent on medications they are prescribed. If any of these bad habits are part of your life, it’s never too late to stop. Speak to your doctor to find the best solution for eliminating harmful substances.
Healthy Aging Month is a great time to start taking action towards improving your overall well-being. The right diet combined with physical activity, a positive outlook, and regular medical checkups can get you headed in the right direction during this stage of your life.