Posted on Sep 09, 2014
"Whether your 15 or 50, there are things you can always do to ensure that you age well," says Felicia Miller, owner and operator of Senior Helpers Milwaukee, an in-home care provider located in Milwaukee, WI. "Working with hundreds of seniors, we know that making healthy changes, even late in life can greatly improve one's quality of life."
Of course, as we get older adhering to these rules of healthy aging become all the more important. It's never too soon OR too late to start either. Here are 7 steps that can help you continue to feel good and be active as you grow older.
Know your blood pressure and keep it under control. You can have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) and not know it! High blood pressure is often called "the silent killer" because it does not cause symptoms that you can see or feel. Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with daily exercise can keep your blood pressure in check.
Keep your cholesterol in line. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the heart. Your body needs some cholesterol, but excess cholesterol can build up in your arteries, including the coronary arteries, where it contributes to narrowing and blockage. These blockages can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The same tips for blood pressure management will help with your cholesterol; keeping physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and eating well.
Watch The Weight. Having extra weight puts you at higher risk for a multitude of health risks as you age: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and more. Even losing as little as 5 to 15 percent of your body weight can have a dramatic improvement on your health. Most of us struggle with our weight, but it is key that we keep up a good fight when it comes to weight.
Exercise. Need we say more?! Physical activity burns calories. When you burn more calories than you eat each day, you will take off pounds. Secondly, most of us lose from 20 to 40 percent of muscle mass as we age. Strength exercises can partly restore muscles and strength allowing us to be more self sufficient, prevent injuries and heal faster. Discuss your exercise needs with your doctor and determine what type of plan is best for you.
If you smoke, STOP!!!! In today's society no one should need to tell you that smoking and tobacco are bad for you. Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking accounts for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in this country each year. Along with cancer, smoking also increases the risk of other health problems, such as chronic lung disease and heart disease. The solution is simple...DO NOT SMOKE.
Watch your drinking. Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers and can also cause liver disease, immune system problems and brain damage. That said, moderate alcohol use of up to 2 drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women is not harmful to your health.
Engage With Your Doctors. By taking responsibility for your own health and engaging with your doctors, you can ensure that you are doing all you can to remain healthy as you age. Ask questions, keep track of your medical history and make sure you understand medical advice.
No matter you age, the better you take care of your body, the longer it will take care of you.