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Healthy Aging Month: 6 Ways to Prevent Health Problems as You Get Older

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The older you get, the more important it is to be conscious of your health. Not only is it necessary to tackle health concerns as they arise, but it's also crucial to take preventative measures to protect your future well-being.

When it comes to healthy aging, you and your body are a team. And you can accomplish so much more when you’re working with your body instead of against it.

What Does "Healthy Aging" Even Mean?

The World Health Organization defines healthy aging as "the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age."

This essentially means that a person should be able to make decisions and evolve, build and cultivate relationships, and meet their overall basic needs.


September is Healthy Aging Month, and it’s a great time to be more mindful of your overall health. Even small changes can have a big impact, letting you feel and be your best — regardless of the number of candles on your next birthday cake.

Whether you want to start an exercise routine or eat a heart healthy diet, here are 6 ways to take better care of yourself as you age.

 

1. Exercise Regularly

No matter your age, exercising regularly benefits your overall health. Exercising reduces your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure while strengthening your bones and muscles.

Exercising can even have positive benefits on some effects of menopause, like weight gain and controlling mild to moderate depression.

Starting a new exercise routine can feel like a big challenge, but the biggest step you take is the first one. You don’t have to run a marathon — begin by trying to go for a daily walk or doing a 15-minute workout video. Move and exercise within your comfort zone to start building up your strength and stamina.

2. Eat Healthy — or Healthier

Eating healthy is a powerful way to decrease your risk of heart disease and other health issues. Your eating habits can impact your bodily health and your mental health as well.

To show some love for your heart, eat a heart healthy diet that includes whole grains, fish, and vegetables. Or if you’re looking for a boost to your immune system, add foods rich in vitamins to your diet like oranges, broccoli, or spinach. When it comes to eating right for your body, it’s all about finding a balance that works for you. 

3. Prevent Falls

When you're young, your body can bounce back from injuries — even serious ones — quickly. But falling becomes more dangerous as you age, so it's important to take the time to make your own home safer to limit your chance of injury.

You may have conversations like this with your parents or grandparents as they age, but it's just as important to think about fall prevention for yourself too.

Here are some simple ways you can prevent falls — and serious injuries — in your home:

  • Wear shoes with non-skid soles that fit properly.
  • Keep a low level of clutter in your home.
  • Limit rugs that could create a tripping hazard.
  • Store frequently-used items in easy to reach locations to avoid standing on chairs or step stools.
  • Use an assistive device such as a cane or walker if you have one.

4. Keep Your Mind Sharp

Regularly challenging your brain is just as important as taking care of your body. Whether you like number puzzles like Sudoku or word puzzles like Scrabble, put on your thinking cap to improve memory and cognition.

There are also many apps and digital games that you can download to your phone or computer to help you work out your brain. You can even play these games with friends or family — your mental fitness routine doesn’t have to be a lonely one!

5. Attend Regular Check-Ups

A great defense against future ailments is staying on top of regular medical appointments and check-ups.

Your Chester County Hospital primary care provider will make sure you are up-to-date on necessary vaccinations, perform physical evaluations, and screen for medical issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Even if you have missed an annual wellness visit, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your Chester County Hospital primary care provider. It might be hard to get back into the swing of regular check-ups, but the care and support can help you live your healthiest life.

6. Listen to Your Body

Getting older can have its ups and downs, but your body isn’t your enemy. You're in this together. Listen to what your body is telling you. Pay attention to how it feels after you exercise or stick to a healthy diet. Similarly, take note of any pain you experience, whether in your joints, eyes, ears, or back.

Don't just power through as your body is changing — pay attention to what makes you feel your best!


Looking Forward to a Bright Future

There are a lot of things in life that you can't change — and aging is one of them. Even though some people may have negative feelings towards aging, a shift in perspective can be just what you need to love yourself at any age.

Getting older comes with plenty of upsides, like new experiences, closer relationships, and increased wisdom. And while aging does require a little more health maintenance, small steps and changes in your lifestyle can have a big impact on your overall health.

Have other questions about healthy aging? Contact a Chester County Hospital primary care provider, or visit Chester County Hospital's Physician Directory to find a specialist.

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