Many out there confuse healthy aging with the creams promising them wrinkle-free skin. The true concept of healthy aging, however, is a lot nobler than that. Not only does it focus on so many areas other than one’s crow’s feet, ensuring it, too, is about a complete lifestyle and not just some pre-sleep routine.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) defines healthy aging as “…a continuous process of optimizing opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life throughout the life course.” Let’s see what that means.
What is Healthy Aging Truly About?
What PAHO is primarily calling for is a socio-political environment inclusive of older people and their needs. An environment that ensures that older persons, too, have the chance to become contributors to society.
A major part of this appeal is directed at policymakers and society. However, certain initiatives rest at an individual’s behest to make healthy aging a possibility for themself. Here they are:
Growth, a healthy one at any age, starts when you truly understand yourself, your surroundings, past, present, and what sort of future you desire for yourself. In the context of healthy aging, this means understanding your family history, triggers and stressors, bodily limitations, body weight and type, and imagining yourself as an active member of society.
That last bit is especially important because to grow gracefully and healthily; one must grow out of the ‘retirement mindset’ first.
Once you are out of that limiting retirement mindset, it is then essential to adopt a lifestyle that supports your new, pro-growth approach. This starts with eating healthy and living healthy.
Eating healthy at old age is no more just about eating your veggies. It entails dietary habits that support a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) number and doesn’t let your waist circumference get out of control.
Eat food that helps you maintain your Vitamin D levels for strong bones, is fibre-rich, and is low-GI (glycemic index). Low-GI foods keep blood sugar levels in check, help reduce weight, and lower the risk of heart diseases and type-2 diabetes.
Diet alone, however, won’t cut it for you. A big part of living healthy is about keeping yourself active. That means more leg-time and less time sitting idle.
According to UK’s National Health Service (NHS), about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or, 75 minutes of high-intensity activity a week is recommended for older people. This activity will keep you from developing different chronic diseases and help you remain mentally fit. The stamina, balance, and ability to operate generally better in life also come naturally with such a lifestyle.
Besides physical activity, what ensures mental fitness the best is one’s active social life. Studies suggest that social isolation contributes significantly to depression, sleep quality degradation, and even poor cardiovascular health.
It is, therefore, essential to surround yourself with friends and family. The sort of people who you can share your life with, and among the ones who you feel safe and sane around.
While tobacco is a big no, no, other recreational drugs, too, are counter-productive for healthy ageing. As you age, your body generally gets increasingly unstable. Your heart isn’t beating as fast as it used to, your liver function deteriorates too, and all your other vital organs are as vulnerable.
With this much going on inside, the threats to your body are aplenty and, therefore, putting something as unstable and unpredictable as recreational drugs into the system makes no sense at all. In short, too many health variables are at play, and drugs can easily go wrong.
Regular Health Checkups
As you get older, the need for regular health checkups gets even bigger. As explained, there are numerous threats to the body, most of which can quickly get serious unless detected and treated early on.
Furthermore, regular medical examinations also ensure that your chronic conditions remain at manageable levels. Even if you plan to involve yourself in a certain new activity; say a project, it is recommended to seek your doctor’s advice, especially if it is expected to be physically demanding.
Lastly, understand yourself and your body and plan accordingly. If you need professional assistance in living your life, don’t be shy about getting it. With its home health services, Annie’s Place can help you with that. The point is that nothing should come in your way of being happy, as healthy aging is essentially happy aging.