A healthy lifestyle can take many different forms as you age. From staying physically active and understanding your individual nutritional needs, to booking regular check-ups and recognizing warning signs early. Good habits and behaviors will help ensure you have a more productive and meaningful life.
In this post we'll provide some tips on how to pursue a healthy aging process so that you can maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing with each passing year.
Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
While it's normal to lose some strength and stamina as you age, upping your physical activity can help combat this. Sadly by the age of 75, many older adults don't engage in any form of exercise1 or physical activity. Exercise, however, is a crucial component of your physical and emotional health.
It's important to recognize that exercise looks different when you age. Though it will become harder to pursue high impact activities such as jogging, activities like walking, swimming, and aerobics classes can be kinder to your joints while providing a great way to maintain your mobility and strength. Even hobbies such as gardening and dancing can serve as a form of physical activity.
Whether you already have an exercise regimen or you're looking to incorporate some short intervals of physical activity into your day, here are some of the benefits older adults enjoy by staying active as they age.
Independence is a right everyone should enjoy well into their retirement. Yet, inactivity is one of the leading causes of older people losing their ability to do things on their own. Exercise keeps you strong and gives you the energy to do the things you want.
Reduce Risk of Injury
Exercise is a key component of maintaining balance. As you age, falling becomes a very real concern. Improved balance lowers your risk of falling and injuring yourself.
Manage and Prevent Disease
Older adults are at a higher risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary disease, arthritis, diabetes, and other debilitating conditions such as cancer. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy heart, bones, and joints. It supports weight loss and strengthens your immune system.
Maintain Cognitive Function
Certain cognitive abilities, such as memory or the speed at which you process information, can decline gradually over time. Exercise gets your heart pumping and blood flowing to every part of your body, increasing the oxygen to your brain.
Improve Emotional Health
After retirement, many older adults struggle with depression, anxiety, and stress as they enter this new phase in their life. Exercise is a known mood booster, especially when enjoyed with a friend.
Nutrition for Older Adults
A well-thought-out diet does the body good. This is especially true for older adults looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet includes crucial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that ensure your body can continue to function and thrive. Watching what you eat can also help prevent many of the common health risks older adults face, including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions. Research has also shown that different foods and nutrients can help to reduce your risk of cancer2.
Crucial Vitamins and Minerals as You Age
Vitamins and minerals help to promote a healthy body, as well as a healthy mind. Here are some of the most crucial vitamins and minerals you should include in your diet as you age:
- Vitamin D: This vitamin is critical in maintaining bone strength. You can get your daily dose of vitamin D from fish oil, fatty fish, fortified cereal, and milk as well as other dairy products.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin helps in the production of red blood cells and keeps nerve cells working properly. You can get B12 from fish, poultry, meat, milk, and fortified breakfast cereals. However, some older adults also take vitamin B12 supplements for an extra boost.
- Calcium: Older adults are at a higher risk for bone loss and need the benefits that calcium provides for stronger teeth and bones. Calcium is found in milk and other dairy products as well as leafy vegetables, soybeans, salmon, and calcium-fortified foods.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is highly beneficial to heart health. While it may be present in tap and bottled water, magnesium is also in foods high in dietary fiber such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, leafy vegetables, and legumes.
- Potassium: Besides helping to keep bones strong, potassium can also reduce high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones. This essential mineral is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as meats, potatoes, and dairy products.
Important Health Checks You Should Get as You Age
Preventive checks and screenings are important for everyone, but especially for older adults who are often at higher risk. The earlier you can detect an issue, the sooner you can act.
Here are some of the most important health checks you should consider as you age.
- Blood pressure check: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. Be sure to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
- Cholesterol: Healthy cholesterol helps decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Blood tests for lipids allow your doctor to check on your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Bone density scan: Millions of older adults struggle with osteoporosis, a disease characterized by porous bones more prone to fracture. If your doctor feels it's needed, a bone scan can be used to measure bone strength and determine if you have this disorder.
- Cancer screenings: The best way to catch this disease early is to regularly scan for new or suspicious symptoms. Though there are many cancers you can't screen for, there are a range of different procedures that can be effective for certain types. Some of the most common include a colonoscopy, or a procedure where a camera is used to scan your colon for cancerous polyps, mammograms that detect breast cancer, and skin checks that are used to identify skin cancer.
While health checks undertaken by a doctor or healthcare professional play a key role in maintaining your health, it's also important to self-check so you can recognise and act on any symptoms that seem unusual.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
90% of those diagnosed with bladder cancer will be over 55 and the disease is the 4th most common cancer among men in the US and the 6th most common overall. Unfortunately there is no routine screening procedure for bladder cancer so your best defence is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and remain vigilant. Some of the symptoms of bladder cancer3 include:
- Blood in the urine (the most common symptom)
- Burning, irritation, or pain during urination
- More frequent urination
- Difficulty urinating
- Weak urine stream
- An urge to go despite bladder not being full
- Urinating several times a night
- Lower back pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Severe fatigue
- Bone pain
- Swollen feet
If you're experiencing blood in the urine (hematuria) or are worried about any other symptom of bladder cancer, we recommend you ask your doctor about Cxbladder. Cxbladder is a non-invasive and easy-to-use genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer. The test works at a molecular level, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
Cxbladder has been validated in multicenter clinical trials published in leading medical journals, and offers reliable results that, when combined with other forms of testing, can help reduce the need for further invasive procedures.
Learn more about Cxbladder Contact us for more information