September is Healthy Aging Month. In September 1992, the Healthy Aging movement was established to encourage people to focus on their mental and physical health and adopt a lifestyle that would enable them to mature gracefully.
Many factors influence healthy aging. Some factors cannot be controlled (genetics), but many others can. Following are a few actions an individual can take to maintain an optimal quality of life and promote healthy aging.
Scientific evidence suggests that regular exercise equates to longevity and a better quality of life. Regular activity can result in improved cognition, balance, and bone strength, which makes it easier for an older adult to perform activities of daily living. A person that cannot walk, lift or carry cannot live independently.
Making wise food choices is important at any age. Older adults, however, have special dietary needs compared to younger adults. Namely, older people have lower calorie diets because of less physical activity, changes in metabolism, and higher nutrient needs due to potential effects of nutrient absorption due to chronic diseases or medications. Establishing an eating pattern that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins is essential.
Get those Zzzzzs!
A good night’s rest helps a person stay healthy and alert. Issues like aches and pain, as well as some medications, may have a negative effect on the quality of sleep for an older adult. Poor sleep quality can make a person irritable, depressed, and forgetful. Without the benefit of alertness that a good quality sleep brings, it can also expose an older adult to more falls and accidents. Following a regular sleep schedule, avoiding late afternoon naps, and developing a bedtime routine are all important habits to ensure a good night’s rest.
Just what the doctor ordered!
Regular health screenings are especially important for an older adult. Regular check-ups enable doctors to detect chronic diseases early and help patients reduce risk factors for diseases like high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Early detection is key, as that is when a disease is most treatable.
In summary, regular exercise, eating healthy, getting a good night’s rest, and regular doctor visits are important actions to promote healthy aging. Incorporating these positive habits will improve an older adult’s optimal quality of life.
Photo by Noelle Otto
Deibler, M. (2021). Exercise ETC Inc. Webinar “Empowering transformation: Managing Chronic Disease.”
Deibler, M. (2021). Exercise ETC Inc. Webinar “Walk the walk: Functional ambulation drills.”
About the Author:
Lyja Levas has worked in the fitness industry for over 20 years and is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor. She is a BaySport Program Manager and BaySport’s Group Exercise Coordinator. Lyja enjoys an active lifestyle that includes daily exercise, a plant-based diet, sleep, and regular doctor visits.