4 Ways to Improve Longevity
Staying Healthy Throughout Your Life
You have likely heard advice for how to stay healthy your whole life, and you probably have turned a lot of that good advice into habit. As your body ages, however, you may need to adjust many of the ways that you care for yourself to adapt to the aging process and extend your lifespan. This can include anything from changing your diet to adding a tinnitus assessment. Here are four practices that can improve longevity to add to your self-care repertoire.
1. Boost Medical Care
A yearly checkup, eye exam and dental appointment are good ideas for a person of any age, but older people may want to talk to their doctors about additional tests that can be helpful. If you are noticing hearing loss, for example, you may want to schedule a tinnitus assessment to see if there are treatment options. Bone density also tends to decrease, particularly for those who are at risk for osteoporosis. A bone density test can help detect problems early.
You may also benefit from adding vaccines. A simple respiratory infection can progress rapidly and turn into something life-threatening. People over the age of 65 should consider getting a shot to protect against pneumonia as well as a yearly flu shot. After the age of 50, a shingles vaccine can protect you from this common painful illness.
2. Be Vigilant About Diet and Exercise
Many people notice that they have to change their diets as they get older. Perhaps the spicy foods you enjoyed as a 30-something keep you awake at night now. Your doctor may have noted high cholesterol levels in your last checkup. Whatever the signs may be, it's important to pay attention to them. Eat a diet high in fiber and lower in carbohydrates. Try to incorporate more whole foods into your diet. You may even consider adding a daily multivitamin that is specifically formulated for older people.
You also need to keep moving. As you age, your body loses muscle mass and flexibility. The good news is that you don't have to add high impact cardio workouts. Try Pilates for maintaining flexibility in your spine and feet as well as building core strength. A daily walk can also help you keep your muscles in good working order.
3. Embrace Mental Challenge
Going to work every day often provides a built-in practice for actively engaging your brain. Once you retire, however, you must seek out challenging stimuli to stay sharp, particularly as your mental faculties begin to decline. Even if you don't have any form of dementia, a little memory loss is common with aging. Finding ways to slow down the process is crucial to maintaining your mental acuity.
Find an activity you love. If you have always enjoyed reading, use your downtime to explore new books. Crossword puzzles and number games can also keep your mind engaged. If you like electronic games, you may be interested in those that are specifically designed to fight memory loss.
4. Maintain Social Support
A supportive social network is important for mental and physical well-being at any age. As you get older, it becomes even more important. Many studies show a significant link between high levels of social support and the reduction of risk for mental illness, physical issues and early mortality.
If you live alone, that doesn't mean you have to spend your whole life by yourself. Schedule time with your family and friends. Join social clubs in your city. If you like to travel, you can find organizations that specialize in group travel for senior citizens. Maintaining an active social life can keep you both mentally and physically healthier as you age.
You will probably notice the need for many changes in both your body and your mind as you get older. Eating a healthy diet and staying physically and mentally active are just a start. Maintaining a great relationship with your doctor as well as your family and friends can also help prolong your life. You can increase your longevity by building new habits to slow down the aging process.