As adults, we have to make good choices in our lifestyle for us to age well. The decisions you make, your habits and your lifestyle all affect how you live your senior years. Sometimes we make bad choices earlier in life but it’s never too late to change. The decision is up to you!
Aging well means making smart choices for your mind, your body and your spirit. There are several steps one can take to affect your overall body. Here are a few things we can do to aging well.
Hypertension or high blood pressure can lead to major health conditions such as stroke, heart disease or even kidney failure. You need to maintain a systolic pressure of less than 140 (top number) and a diastolic of less than 90 (bottom number).
There are several things that you can do to help aid against high blood pressure:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating healthier (more fruits, vegetables and low fat foods)
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Decreasing your salt intake
- Drink less alcohol (no more than 1-2 drinks per day)
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and many other problems. Exercise can help one to control their weight and even improve one’s mental sharpness by releasing all those endorphins that makes us feel so much better.
Before starting your exercise program, speak with your doctor first. Exercise regularly for 30-60 minutes every day. Remember to eat healthier along with trying to eat smaller portions. Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Last but not least, eat at least several hours before going to bed.
Control your cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood. Doctors suggest keeping your cholesterol level below 200 to decrease your chances of stroke or heart disease. You have good and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is called LDL or (low density lipoproteins). This type of cholesterol can build up on your blood vessels causing a narrowing or blockage of your arteries. The narrowing can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and even heart attacks.
Here are a few ways to help lower your cholesterol:
- Cut back on your fat intake
- Eat food high in fiber like beans, apples, pears and oatmeal
- Eat fish with Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon or halibut
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts help reduce bad cholesterol
Don’t smoke! Drink in moderation …
If you smoke, now is the time to quit! It’s never too late. According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths.
Here are a few things you can try:
- Replace smoking with maybe a daily habit of exercising
- Drink only one to two glasses a day
- Get support from an anonymous group
The great news about aging well is you have all the control in your life to help you age better. You can start eating healthier, start an exercise program, or by even just improving your social status in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and get started today. It’s never too late to start!
Timmy Kleine is a Registered Nurse and the Manager of College Hill Assisted Living, a program of Lutheran Sunset Ministries in Clifton, Texas.