Too many people accept poor health as a normal part of aging. Of course, we experience changes in the body as we grow older, but most of the health conditions we face during our senior years are preventable or treatable with some simple lifestyle changes. Here’s how you can take control of your health and charge forward into your senior years feeling great!
Improve Your Gut Health
The connection between our gut bacteria and general health has been studied extensively in recent years. According to Plexus Worldwide, poor gut health can even put our mental health at risk. Much like our brain cells, microorganisms in our gut release neurotransmitters, such as GABA and dopamine, which have a direct impact on our mood. So, taking care of your gut health may help you deal with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. You can support your gut microbiome by adding certain foods to your diet, including probiotic fermented foods containing healthy bacteria and prebiotic foods that feed good gut bacteria. Taking a daily probiotic supplement can also keep your gut microbiome balanced.
Don’t Overlook Dental Health
Your gut health is affected by what you put into your mouth, but also by what you do to take care of your mouth. It may not be too surprising to learn that dental health can impact your digestive system, but it can also affect your heart health and mood! You can learn more about the link between depression and dental health from AreaDentist. Regular visits to the dentist can help you stay on top of your oral hygiene and prevent problems from arising. Fortunately, many seniors pay for dental coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan. If you’re one of these individuals, you have every reason to visit the dentist!
Make New Friends
Loneliness is yet another thing that can have a serious effect on your mental health. Not only that, but seniors who are socially isolated face higher mortality rates as well as an increased risk of dementia, chronic disease, sickness, and depression compared to their social counterparts.
Fortunately, Psych Central recommends several ways you can ward off the frightening effects of loneliness. Head to your local senior center to make some new friends. Churches, clubs, community classes, and other organizations are perfect places to meet people. You can also volunteer, get a part-time job, or pick up a social hobby. Finally, consider adopting a pet for some loving and meaningful companionship at home.
Getting outside and meeting new people will likely encourage you to exercise a bit more. This should be great news because the psychical activity will help you maintain your mobility and independence while improving your cognitive function and memory. Exercise will also reduce your risk of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
Seniors should try to participate in a variety of aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance exercises to maximize their health benefits. Strength training twice per week is particularly important for preventing muscle loss and can reduce your mortality rate by 46 percent, Forbes reports.
Engage in Healthy Sleep Habits
One additional benefit of exercise is that you’ll be able to sleep better. High-quality sleep will help you feel happier, more alert, and more energetic during the day. Seniors often have trouble sleeping due to health problems or medication side effects, but practicing healthy sleep habits can help you get the quality sleep you need. Follow a calming, regular nightly routine, and try to hit the sack at the same time every night. If possible, avoid napping during the day. It’s also a good idea to avoid using electronics before bed since light from the screens can reduce the production of sleep hormones in your brain.
Weakness, aching joints, stiff muscles, fatigue, and mental health problems are all common ailments experienced by seniors, but they don’t have to be. Take control of your mental and physical health to create a future for yourself where you remain independent, happy, and healthy for years to come.