As you get older, it’s increasingly important to take good care of yourself. Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent mental and physical illnesses. But there are often steps you can take to boost your health and wellbeing. Here are seven simple steps to help reduce the risk of severe illness, and keep you healthy and happy as you get older.
- Be as active as possible
As you age, you may find that you can run as far and fast as you used to. But this doesn’t mean that you should give up exercise altogether. The longer you stay active, the better. Physical activity is good for your circulation, your joints, and your muscles. It helps to build strength and stamina, and it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise also has incredible benefits for mental health. Getting your heart pumping can help you to conquer stress and anxiety. It will also lift your mood, as your body releases endorphins when you exercise. Endorphins are affectionately known as happy hormones.
You don’t need to pound the pavements or go through an intense workout at the gym every day to enjoy the benefits of exercise. There are all kinds of activities on offer, and any level of intensity will be beneficial for your body and mind. Do what you can manage. This may mean going for a round of golf or taking the dog for a walk. Go for a swim, or simply amble around the block at your leisure when you feel up to it. If you have sore joints, try swimming. The water supports the weight of your body, and it can be a very relaxing activity.
- Keep an eye on how much you drink
Most of us enjoy an alcoholic drink now and again. Drinking in moderation is unlikely to do you any harm. But it is important to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption. If you drink too much, this increases your risk of developing liver disease, cirrhosis, and heart disease. If you’re not sure how much you drink, keep a diary. If you drink too many units per week, try and cut down. Water down glasses of wine or pour smaller measures. If you’re worried about drinking excessively, don’t hesitate to seek advice from your doctor.
- Maintain contact with friends and family
As you get older, you may find it increasingly tough to stay in contact with friends and family members, especially if they live far away. Try and make an effort to stay in touch with those closest to you. If you can’t visit frequently, use text messages, phone calls or emails to catch up. Try and arrange to see each other as and when you can. Seeing or speaking to the people you love can lift your spirits, and prevent you from feeling isolated. If you’re not familiar with the Internet, ask a friend for help. You could also consider taking a night class to give you better basic IT skills. Once you know what to do, you can use social media to message friends and relatives.
- Get out and about
Home is where the heart is. But nobody likes being stuck inside all the time. Try and arrange days out, catch ups with friends and breaks away to give you something to look forward to. If you can’t drive, or you struggle to get around, there are options available to you. You could ask friends for lifts or research public transport. You could also look into shuttle services. Have a look at this from Ride Right to give you some ideas. Keeping busy can boost your mental health and wellbeing. Even something simple like a coffee with your daughter, or a meal with a friend can make all the difference.
If you’re eager to get out more, or you’d like to meet new people, you could consider taking up a new hobby. Would you like to learn to dance or take cooking lessons? Are you interested in art or music? Look out for information about local groups in magazines, newsletters, community centers and churches.
- Stick to a healthy diet
Your diet is one of the most important considerations when it comes to your health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will boost your immune system, and reduce the risk of serious health issues. A healthy diet should comprise a mixture of fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates and proteins. Your body also needs fat, but you should moderate your intake of saturated fats. Try to avoid fast food and processed meals and snacks. If you’re not a maestro in the kitchen, don’t worry. There are lots of simple options out there, which are also nutritious. Good examples include salads, soups, meat and fish dishes. Pasta recipes, casseroles, and jacket potatoes are also healthy choices. As you age, you may find that you benefit from taking supplements. Ask your doctor for advice. You may get everything you need from your diet. But if you don’t, taking supplements can help to boost your health.
- Give up smoking
It’s never too late to try and quit smoking. If you want to cut down or try and give up for good, there’s plenty of help and support out there. Ask your doctor about local groups and treatments, such as nicotine replacement therapy. Quitting smoking will reduce your risk of cancer, lung disease, and heart disease significantly.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Many of us don’t like to ask for help, even when we really need it. If you’re struggling at home, or you’d appreciate a hand from time to time, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family. If you don’t have people close to you, ask your doctor about local services that could help. You’ll often find that there are solutions out there for most problems. All you have to do is ask. There’s no shame in needing a little assistance now and again.
As you get older, it’s important to think about your health. This doesn’t just mean focusing on your physical health. You should also pay attention to your mental health and social wellbeing. Try and get out and about, organize activities, and keep in touch with people. Focus on healthy eating, try and stay active and keep busy. If you need help, there are people and organizations out there ready and willing to lend a hand.