Prioritize your Health as you Age

You've heard the saying, "Health is Wealth", well as you get older it's important to invest in your overall well-being. Aging can be hard to come to terms with, but it's important to know that you can still do the things you love by just taking steps to prioritize a healthy life. With September being Healthy Aging Month, here are some tips to take care of yourself as you get older.

Move your Body More!

It is no secret that exercise contributes to a healthy life and as you age it's important to keep yourself active. Physical activity is important in all stages of your life, but it's even more important to stay active as you get older to prevent muscle loss and deterioration. It is never too early to add physical activity to your life, in fact in a study conducted by the National Center of Biotechnology Information, participants who were inactive for the majority of their life but became physically active later in life gained the benefits of that activity. Physical activity strengthens your body, manages your weight, improves your mental health, increases balance, and reduces the risk of falls.

So how much should you be exercising to keep up with your health? It is recommended for adults over the age of 65 should have about 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This could seem like a lot, but this could be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk a day, any physical activity is good activity.

Exercise should be:

  • Activities that you enjoy doing, and not something that feels like a chore to do
  • Activity that strengthens and works your muscles
  • Activity that focuses on improving balance
  • Activity that is stimulating and challenging

If daily exercise is something that you struggle with, start small and focus on just moving your body more and more every day. Strive to increase the number of steps you take daily, and then incorporate activities that you enjoy. As you age it is important to focus on daily activity to keep you happy and healthy.

Make Healthy Food Swaps

We get it, South Louisiana has some of the most delicious food, but as you age it is time to focus on prioritizing a diet that is high in nutrients. Did you know that as you age your body requires fewer calories, but more nutrients to keep you healthy? If you struggle to eat a balanced diet try focusing on small swaps to get more color and nutrients into your diet. Here are a few things you can do to make your meals as nutrient-dense as possible.

  • Try to include vegetables with every meal
  • Make it colorful! Including fruits and vegetables that are colorful, fresh, fun, and delicious!
  • Focus on foods high in fiber like whole wheat pasta, chickpeas, berries, edamame
  • Skip the salt! Flavor your foods with herbs and spices

Having a healthy diet helps manage health problems that are more common as you age, such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity. If you are concerned about changing your diet or finding ways to incorporate healthy options into your diet, consult your doctor to find a nutrition plan best for your overall health.

Ditch your Smoking Habit

One of the best things you can do to improve your health as you age is to quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes will lessen your life expectancy and cause a multitude of health problems. When you quit smoking you lessen your risk of lung disease, cancer, heart attack, and stroke. We know that quitting smoking is easier said than done. Nicotine is addictive, and when you decide to stop smoking you may have withdrawal symptoms that could make you feel irritable, but it's important to know that this feeling will subside and the long-term benefits will outweigh those feelings.

RELATED: Keep Yourself Healthy: Quit Smoking

If you are ready to ditch your smoking habit, talk with your doctor about the best way to start. Surround yourself with family and friends who will support you and push you to be your healthiest self. Quitting smoking may feel like a daunting task, but it will add years to your life and give you the energy to do activities that you didn't think you could before!

Don't Skip those Screenings!

Are you someone who dreads those annual wellness checks with your primary care provider? Annual visits are important and can help to catch chronic diseases early. As you age, you become at a higher risk for health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Annual screenings are a way of catching health conditions that you may be unaware of. Staying on top of your screenings is a way for you and your doctor to keep your health at the forefront of your mind as you get older.

For more information about Slidell Memorial Hospital, or to schedule an appointment with a doctor, visit https://www.slidellmemorial.or...