Growing older often gets a bum rap, and culturally, we tend to think youth is superior. For centuries, people even sought a literal fountain of youth, but thankfully, as we learn more about the aging process, it’s apparent there are ways to maintain vitality throughout our golden years without that mythical water. Here’s how you can truly enjoy optimal health as you grow older.
Something to smile about
Are you keeping up with dental care? If so, you have a lot to smile about, since oral health and overall wellness seem to be closely linked. For instance, your gut health and oral health seem to be connected, and when one aspect is off-kilter, the other typically follows suit. Along those same lines, gum disease has been connected with heart disease. Some research indicates when your dental hygiene is poor, you’re at increased risk for dementia, and oral hygiene and depression also appear to be intertwined.
It’s increasingly evident how crucial it is to make dental care part of your overall wellness plan. Note some senior healthcare plans provide dental coverage. If you’re enrolled in one that does, ensure you make good on your investment, and if you’re not already enrolled, consider adding it the next time you review your healthcare plan.
For some seniors, technology feels like foreign territory. However, as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s also becoming more senior-friendly. Smartphones offer apps to monitor health and note personal progress, tablets allow seniors to keep reading easily with adjustable font size and brightness, and social media provides routine connection with friends and family. There are also things like medication reminders, motion-activated lights, and medical alert systems, which can be a boon for seniors with mobility or other health concerns, boosting safety and peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Maintain fitness levels
Staying physically active is a key to good quality of life, regardless of how old you are. An exercise regimen offers important health benefits to seniors, such as improved strength and mobility, better cognitive function, enhanced mental well-being, reduced risk of illness, and less chance of weight gain. It’s important to engage in a balanced plan of strength and aerobic activity, and include some stretching and balance exercises.
If you suffer from chronic pain, there are still lots of exercise options to choose from that will not only make you stronger, but could actually help relieve your pain. For instance, if you have back pain, moving in and out of a bridge pose will strengthen your core while providing a gentle stretch of this critical muscle group. If even chronic pain-friendly routines are leaving you sore, talk with your doctor about adding a CBD supplement to your wellness program. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural pain reliever that is being used to ease chronic pain more than ever before. Gummy products are a popular choice, and in addition to speaking with your doc, do some online research to find a supplement that will work best for you.
Whether or not you suffer from chronic pain, if you aren’t already involved in a routine exercise program, consider starting out with something gentle, like a walking program or cycling. Also add some variety to your routine. Do activities you enjoy, like dancing, swimming, or simply strolling with your dog. The key is to choose things that keep you moving, active, and enjoying life.
Catch some Zs
All too often, seniors are sleep deprived. While our requirements for sleep dwindle somewhat as we grow older, slumber is still essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Insomnia is really hard on your body, putting you at increased risk for stroke, heart disease, obesity, depression, anxiety, and a host of other health concerns. If you’re one of the many seniors who struggles with getting sufficient shuteye, Everyday Health recommends addressing your sleep hygiene. Avoid napping if possible, set a regular bed time and wake time, stay active through the day, and keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet for sleeping. Also be sure to avoid caffeine past mid-afternoon, and steer clear of sugary foods and drinks late in the day. If you continue to count sheep into the wee hours, talk with your doctor, since there are health conditions and concerns which could be affecting you.
While the fountain of youth is just a myth, there are plenty of ways to optimize your health as you grow older. Keep on top of dental health, engage tech tools, stay active, and get enough sleep. With these simple adjustments, your quality of life can be amazing throughout your golden years
Written by Jason Lewis