How to age in good health
As you get older, it’s important to understand how your needs may change and how best to maximize your health.
Self-awareness is key
You're the best judge of how you’re feeling. One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to simply pay attention to any changes in your physical or mental state. This will help you catch and treat any issues early and address them with your doctor.
As we get older, our metabolisms slow down, meaning we need fewer calories. But at the same time, we need just as many – or sometimes even more – nutrients to stay strong and healthy.
The best solution is to eat whole, unprocessed foods. These foods are usually lower in calories and fats than processed foods and include a lot of the nutrients you need as you age. Be sure to include these items on your grocery list:
- Fresh fruit and berries (fiber and vitamins)
- Nuts (protein and good fats)
- Fish (salmon and herring are great sources of vitamin D)
- Non-starchy vegetables (high in fiber)
- Eggs (try hard or soft-boiled to avoid having to prepare with butter)
Make calcium a priority
Bone health is of particular concern as you age past 50. To keep your bones strong, eat three servings of calcium every day. Good sources include:
- Leafy greens
Tackle the sleep challenge
If you feel it’s getting harder to get the sleep you need, you’re not alone. As you age, changes in your brain may make getting enough sleep more difficult. Some things you can do to get more sleep include:
- Limit any daytime naps to 30 minutes
- Avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated tea at night
- Drink alcohol in moderation, and not too close to bedtime
- Get out more – exposure to sunlight can help your sleep cycle
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
Drinking enough water is essential to looking and feeling your best. But as you get older, your kidneys may not be as efficient at keeping you hydrated.
Adopt the 8x8 water rule – it’s easy to remember and it stands for the recommended amount of water you should drink each day: eight 8-ounce glasses a day
Mental health matters
You know about how important it is to keep your body in good shape, but you also have to exercise your brain. To stay your sharpest:
- Learn a new language
- Try a new card game
- Take an educational workshop
Understand the body/mind connection
Taking care of your body takes care of your mind too. Studies show that obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can result in a higher risk of dementia.
Be the best you can be at any age
A healthy lifestyle takes a lifelong commitment. Though your needs may change, there are things you can do to keep your body and mind in tip-top shape through the years.