Staying Fit in the Silver Years
Written by Justine Raagas Monday, 11 October 2010 21:22
It’s hard to deny the inevitable aging process. Growing old is part of life but it can be a scary thought for most people, because along with aging, one will also be confronted with a number of health concerns. Some health concerns may be typically minor, while some may be quite serious, and may prevent individuals from living an active and independent lifestyle. While aging cannot be stopped, the health problems that come along with it may be prevented or at least lessened to some extent. With the right preventive measures, you can stay fit even during the silver years, so you can enjoy life just like you did when you were younger.
Prevention Is Key
The first step to keeping fit is to always have your health checked. This does not only apply to older individuals, but to everyone as well. Regular health checks, at least once every year, should be done in order to determine if there are any areas that call for attention such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, breathing problems and the like. The same rule applies for your oral concerns. Seeing a dentist at least once every six to nine months will help maintain good dental health. Tests for early detection should be done on a regular basis, and these include tests and screenings for several types of cancers.
Always Stay Active
Growing older does not necessarily mean having to become inactive. There are various exercises that are suitable for different states of health, and will help you become strong, balanced, flexible and enduring. Strength, balance, flexibility and endurance are four important areas that will keep you healthy and independent later on – and exercise will help you maintain these. You can join fitness groups which will allow you to engage with other people while remaining active.
Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, golf, hiking, cycling and swimming are good for the heart. Strength training, on the other hand improves bone and muscle conditions, which in turn will help you with daily activities. Balance training involves exercises using weight machines and resistance bands improves muscle strengths and prevents falls from occurring.
If you have been sedentary for a long time, it’s a good idea to start with low impact exercises. Always consult your doctor before starting on any exercise routine, especially if you have several health concerns already.Engaging in housework is also another great way to keep fit. Simple activities that involve you moving around the house can have great benefits on your health.
This is a very simple rule, but most people continue to make the wrong choices when it comes to eating. Fruits, vegetables and other plant foods should be on top of your food list, while meats and other dishes with healthy fats should be used as side dishes (not the other way around). Plant foods should always go over meat – they contain nutrients and antioxidants and anti – inflammatory agents that flush out toxin and slow down the aging process. Of course you may be tempted to indulge in the occasional ice cream or chocolate chip cookie, that’s natural. The key here is to indulge occasionally, not on a regular basis.
What about Weight?
Unless you’re really overweight, you really don’t have to fret about weight issues. Don’t worry about having on those extra pounds; studies have shown that people who are older do better when they have a little extra weight on them. What’s important is that you get the right nutrition and the right exercise.
Remember to drink sensibly. This means the right amount of water every day. If you follow the eight-glass-a-day rule, that’s good. If you drink more than that, then better. You need water to stay active. Regarding other drinks, it’s good to cut back or even eliminate your consumption of coffee, soda and sweetened juice and alcohol intake. If you fancy a flavored drink, you can add lime to juice or lemon juice to cold water.
Nix the Nasty Habits
Plenty of illnesses result from external forces that can ultimately controlled by you. Stress, for example, is just one factor that causes a lot of illnesses and health problems. Cigarette smoking, too, kills more people that auto accidents, suicide, murder, alcohol and other drugs combined. Remember that cigarette smoking is unhealthy – and you can completely eliminate that habit if you wish.
Exercise the Mind
Some people pay much attention to the body, but then forget that the mind should also be exercised as well. Read regularly or even take classes on something that spikes your interest. Join a scrabble or boggle group, answer Sudoku or crossword puzzles, learn new subjects internet resources or library books. Remember that the world has so much to offer and you’re never too old to learn. The brain atrophies when it is not used, so don’t let it dull as you grow older.
Remember that aging does not necessarily mean growing weak and unhealthy as time passes. The key is to start early and start today. A few decisive changes in your lifestyle can do the trick and can help you stay fit even during the silver years.
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