Healthy aging begins now. Take steps to ensure your independence and good health today, and for years to come. Here’s how.
When you make your health a priority, you’re investing in your own future. Taking care of yourself today, with the help of our team at Doctors First, can go a long way in preserving your independence for many years to come.
September is Healthy AgingⓇ Month, so we’d like to recognize it with some strategies to put you on the path to enjoying your golden years. Our family doctors share 10 tips for healthy aging.
1. Get active and stay active
For your physical and mental well-being, you need to move. Maintaining an active lifestyle is the key to quality of life, now and in the future. Physical fitness improves balance, coordination, and muscle mass. Regular aerobic exercise improves your blood sugar, boosts your immune system, wards off depression, and the cardiovascular benefits are great.
You don’t have to run a marathon though. With just 30 minutes a day of walking or riding a bike, you can reap all the amazing benefits that promote healthy aging.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Sure, everyone enjoys french fries or a donut every once in a while, but a steady diet of processed and fast foods doesn’t really nourish your body. Build your meals using lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains. Cut back on sugar, processed foods, and trans fats. You’ll be surprised by how good you feel almost immediately.
3. Exercise your brain
Cognitive decline, to some degree, is simply a part of aging, but 1 in 10 Americans over age 65 suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. You may be able to ward off dementia and other cognitive decline by exercising your brain. Learn a new language, take a dance class, explore a martial art, do a daily crossword. No matter what you do, challenge your brain on a regular basis and you’ll stay sharper for a long time to come.
4. Build lifelong relationships
Isolation and loneliness are two of the most devastating aspects of getting older. Many seniors live their so-called golden years in social isolation due to the death of a spouse, declining health, and retirement. Cultivate relationships outside of work. Find friends through civic organizations, or church groups. Stay connected.
5. Catch your Zs
Sleep is essential to your emotional and physical health no matter your age. Develop good sleep habits now and practice them regularly. For more on how to get a good night’s sleep go here.
6. Kick stress to the curb
Easier said than done, we know, but stress plays a key role in disease. Being stressed out can rob you of the good times in your life and create a toxic environment within. When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, try to get out — go for a short walk, take in some green space, meditate, and pray. You can learn breathing techniques to calm you or listen to some soothing music. Check out these tips for coping with the stress in your life.
7. An ounce of prevention
Get a physical, and make sure you’re up to date on all your vaccinations, including flu, shingles, and pneumonia. Practice healthy hygiene, like hand washing. Talk to your primary care doctor at our office about any health concerns you may have, and take any vitamins and supplements we recommend.
8. Leave your mark; make a difference
Those who volunteer within their communities always come away with warm feelings of satisfaction. There are hundreds of organizations right in your own backyard clamoring for good people to help out. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, sign up to rock babies at your local NICU, deliver meals to homebound, and trust that whatever you do, you’re making the world a better place.
9. Get positive
Keeping a positive mental attitude can benefit you in so many ways. Begin by keeping a gratitude journal. Each day, write down three specific items you’re grateful for. In addition to promoting healthy aging, you’ll find you’re happier and more appreciative of the many gifts in your life. A gratitude journal can be truly life-changing.
10. Get in the driver’s seat
Take charge of your future now. Make out your will and Advanced Directive. Take steps to ensure your long-term care should you need it. Prepare for the future and keep some of your worries at bay.
Healthy aging is possible whether you’re 45, 55, 75, or beyond. Take steps now to make sure you age as gracefully and independently as possible.
Schedule a physical with one of our providers here at Doctors First to get ahead of any chronic conditions and learn specific ways to handle your health concerns. We provide primary care to the Gaithersburg and Germantown areas, so just call one of our offices or book your visit online. We look forward to helping you master your healthy aging.