Healthy Aging Month is observed in September. This observance raises awareness of the physical and mental health of older adults, and serves as a reminder that as we age, our minds and bodies change. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help deal with those changes and to help prevent some common age-related health problems.
You can take a proactive approach to aging by adopting healthy habits and behaviors, managing existing health conditions, and staying connected to your community. Consider the tips below to help you stay active and independent as you age.
- Eat and Drink Healthy. Dietary needs may change as you age. A healthy eating plan includes nutritious foods that are low in cholesterol, fat, and artificial ingredients. You should also drink plenty of liquids, especially water, to stay hydrated. Eat nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Move More, Sit Less. Staying active can help you prevent, delay, and manage chronic diseases, improve balance and stamina, reduce the risk of falling, and improve brain health. Aim for moderate physical activity, like walking, at least 150 minutes a week (22-30 minutes a day) and muscle strengthening activities, like carrying groceries, at least 2 days a week. Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.
- Get Regular Checkups. It is vital to go to the doctor for regular health screenings for healthy aging. Regular checkups help doctors catch chronic diseases early and can help patients reduce risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In some cases, regular checkups have been linked to improved quality of life and feelings of wellness.
- Be Aware of Changes in Brain Health. Everyone’s brain changes as they age, but dementia is not a normal part of aging. There are a variety of healthy behaviors that can be done to reduce age-related cognitive decline or to manage dementia. Engaging in social and intellectually stimulating activities, getting enough sleep, and not smoking are a few actions you can take. See your doctor if you have questions about memory or brain health.
For additional resources and information on healthy aging, visit the National Institute on Aging, Healthy Aging website.