The older population in Arizona will balloon to 1.8 million by 2020, and each will eventually face many health challenges that can decrease the quality of life.
If you belong to this group, though, know that many of the aches you feel are not necessarily part of aging. Better yet, you can take many steps to ensure your sunset years will remain fun and memorable.
Here are the four golden rules to healthy aging:
1. Maintain Relationships to Beat Loneliness
Many older people are prone to depression and anxiety that comes from different issues: isolation, loss of a beloved, divorce, empty nest, lack of income or job, and so much more.
Sadly, these mental health problems can place you in a vicious cycle. You are less likely to socialize when you don’t feel good about yourself.
You can minimize or even avoid loneliness, depression, and anxiety by maintaining your relationships. Stay involved with your children’s – or even grandchildren’s – lives. Continue to form friendships.
If you’re living alone, consider staying in an independent-living facility. This setup provides you with companions, from healthcare providers to older people like you, without compromising your freedom and self-control.
2. Move to Prevent Immobility and Loss of Muscle Mass
Aging and sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass often go hand in hand. As the body wears down, the ability to produce the right amount of proteins to maintain the muscles decrease.
Sarcopenia can then slow down metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity and, subsequently, chronic diseases. It can limit your mobility and worse raise the odds of falls that will result in life-threatening fractures.
Fortunately, you can slow down or delay the loss of muscle mass by movement:
- Strive to walk at least 6,000 steps a day.
- Lift weights three times a week.
- Do low-impact exercises, such as yoga and swimming. They are easy on the joints but boost your heart rate and work the muscles.
3. Go Easy on the Salt and Sugar to Eat Right
Do you know your taste buds change as you age? By the time you’re 60, you will struggle with identifying sour, salty, and sweet.
That can be a problem when you cook the food yourself. You might not know it, but you’re already consuming way too much sugar or sodium.
To avoid this, start making your recipe book and stick to the measurements. If you’re living in an independent facility, chefs can prepare the meals for you. You can also enhance flavors healthily. For example, you can swap soy sauce with tamari or coco aminos. Both are low in sodium and gluten-free.
4. Check the Hormones to Manage Metabolism
Hormones are substances that regulate almost all body functions, from metabolism to moods. For you to stay healthy, their levels need to be optimal.
As you age, managing hormones will be difficult. Endocrine glands might produce more or less. Tissues or organs become less receptive to them.
These changes are unavoidable, but you can prevent hormones from getting out of whack by managing them. Talk to an endocrinologist or geriatric specialist.
You can never say no to aging, but you can do it with a lot of health issues if you learn to take care of yourself now.