Myth: There’s nothing older people can do about declining health. Fact: There are several ways to protect—and improve—your physical and mental health as you age.
These tips can help pave the way for a fit and fulfilling future. Year after year, you’ll find that age really is just a number!
Commit to fitness. It’s vital to exercise regularly. Physical activity not only lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes but also improves your brain’s health and allows you to do more of the activities you enjoy. Experts recommend doing moderate aerobic activity (such as walking) for 2 ½ hours each week. Even if you haven’t been active in the past, it’s not too late to start. Try 10 minutes of activity a few times a day and work your way up if necessary. Balance exercises are important because they help prevent falls, a leading cause of injuries as we age. Practice balance exercises 3 times a week or more. These can be as simple as standing on one foot or standing up from a sitting position without using your hands.
Get preventative screenings. These could mean living a longer, healthier life. Preventative screenings detect problems early when treatments work best. Talk with your health professional about bone density, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, heart disease and lung cancer.
Care for your brain. Studies show that keeping your brain active throughout life is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Reading, learning a musical instrument or foreign language, playing games or working on puzzles that challenge your mind are all beneficial. Both social engagement and mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain healthy.
Manage chronic conditions. Finding out you have a chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, can be scary and overwhelming. While everyone copes differently, here are three steps you can take to better handle a serious diagnosis and still live life to its fullest:
1. Learn about your condition. Researching your chronic disease and asking your health care team lots of questions can give you a greater sense of control.
2. Move your body. First, check with your doctor to make sure it’s OK to exercise. If you get the green light, being active can help you feel better physically and emotionally.
3. Spend time with others. Being around people who care about you can help you feel like you’re not going through this alone. Source: MyBlueMedicare; Spring, 2019
OK—it sounds simple enough! Let’s commit to be fit. Get start concentrating on physical improvement with a concentrated effort to be proactive and active in our daily routines. Let me know if you need help or suggestions.
I encourage all of you to attend this month’s Continental Breakfast and program from Blue Water Hospice about Palliative Care and Hospice. It is an opportunity to be educated about a topic that may help in an important time of your or a loved-one’s life. Sign up at the back table.
Your Parish Nurse,
Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN
(or How to Improve Your Physical Health While You Age)