Old age brings about a lot of changes, affecting every aspect of life — mental, physical, emotional, and social. While some people try to fight these changes only to collapse in the face of senility, some embrace these changes happily and in good health. The latter lot manages to shield themselves with the despair that old age brings. They go on living their life cheerfully.
Healthy and happy aging is no myth. Here are some tips to age gracefully:
- Take care of your bones
As you age, your bones become thin and brittle. They tend to lose their density and become very susceptible to osteoporosis. Low bone mass enhances the chances of broken bones, significantly affecting the bones of the spine, affecting your posture and height. These issues are more common in women as compared to men. Hence, take care of your bones as you age.
Take calcium-rich food, such as dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, etc. Non-dairy products, like salmon with bones, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, beans, and seeds are also rich in calcium.
Include egg yolks, fatty fish like sardines and salmon, margarine, fortified orange juice, fortified rice, and soy beverages, and other vitamin-D-rich food in your diet because you need vitamin-D to absorb calcium.
- Take care of your muscles
According to numbers, each decade, anyone above 40 years is likely to lose 8 percent of their muscle mass. This rate doubles after turning 70. Therefore, it is vital to keep a proactive check on your muscle mass as you age.
Fortunately, it is easy to keep a check on muscle health. Take a balanced diet comprising lots of vegetables, eggs, beans, and meat, and make sure you don’t miss your regular protein intake. Take 25 to 30 grams of protein in every meal. Talk to your doctor about conjugating your diet with supplements to meet your nutritional needs.
Stay active. Exercise regularly. Train your body endurance using resistance-building exercises and improve your muscle mass ratio as well as overall body strength. Do stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible.
You can find stretching exercises, like shoulder and back stretches, neck stretches, and hip stretches for the elderly on the internet. You can perform them on your own. However, you will need supervision for resistance training or other complicated exercises. Consult your family doctor before you start any exercise routine.
- Take care of your oral health
Your overall health is only as good as your oral health. Unfortunately, most people ignore their oral health and happily embrace the idea of wearing a denture. But if you begin taking care of your oral health early in your life, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy for years to come.
As you age, the upper layer (enamel) that protects your teeth begins to wear off, making them susceptible to cavities, sensitivity, and pain. Plus, susceptibility to gum diseases also increases.
To maintain your oral health, all you need to do is brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush twice a day. Do not ignore flossing and quit smoking.
- Take care of your mental health
Do you fear becoming forgetful as you grow old? Well, keep working your brain to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Keep learning new things, challenge your brain with mental exercises, like puzzles and crosswords, or take up a hobby. All these activities will keep your brain active.
Maintain a social life. Make new friends, join clubs, go for walks, or volunteer. An active social life boosts mental and emotional health.
The bottom line
Old age isn’t necessarily about lost memory, frail muscles, toothless smiles, and wrinkles. It could be about a carefree life, sound physical and mental health, and a lot of happiness. All you need to do is follow this guide to healthy and happy aging.