It seems not everybody ages at the same rate. In fact, there are health habits which are considered good for your health and that can, apparently, slow down the aging rate to a significant extent.
We will be dealing with the two most important health habits for seniors here: diet and exercise. Perhaps not so surprisingly, they’re also the most important habits for people of any age.
What Happens As We Age?
Extrinsic aging is just one type of aging there is. This is the aging that is caused by external factors that you can influence. These factors mostly involve the food you eat, the place you live in, as well as the length of sleep you get in an average night and how much exercise you get in an average day.
The other kind of aging is called intrinsic aging. This type of aging is internally set by your genes and by how well your body can repair the damage caused by different factors and normal cell turnover. This type of aging cannot be influenced as it is set by the internal clock.
These two types of aging work together – this is how your body ages. And while aging cannot be stopped or reversed (although some indicators of aging can be reversed), you can improve your lifestyle so that you reduce the rate at which your body ages and how fast it loses collagen and elastin, the two most important proteins giving your body its shape, elasticity, and flexibility.
Two Health Habits Seniors Must Employ
The habits that you should be able to take up include habits related to food and daily activities. These habits should nurture the body, provide it with all the nutrients it needs to function well and provide it with enough physical activity to keep the blood flowing and help keep oxygen levels high.
When it comes to the diet, the most important thing to do is to exclude unhealthy foods that may cause inflammation. Although this inflammation is not as strong as inflammation caused by viruses and other microorganisms, it can still tire your body over time and significantly increase the speed at which you age. A good diet is the reason why some people remain looking young and full of life in their 60s, while some look way past their due date in their 50s.
Among all these factors, the Mediterranean diet seems to be the most effective in reducing the rate of aging and improving life expectancy. The Mediterranean diet is practiced in a few blue zones, areas in the world where people are most likely to reach the age of 100. The Mediterranean diet consists of:
- A lot of fibers,
- Little red meats,
- Little fish and other seafood,
- A lot of healthy fats, such as those coming from extra-virgin olive oil and nuts,
- Little sweets,
- A lot of beans (and of varied kinds),
- Moderate alcohol consumption, and
- Seasonal diet profile.
Fibers are the next most important item on your menu. You should be taking your daily fibers (there is no danger in overdoing it, if they come from natural sources). To get enough fiber every day, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Once your diet and fiber intake are in check, it is time to think about vitamins and other micronutrients that you may need, such as minerals. Although needed in very small amounts, these important compounds have a very important function in the body, as they regulate protein synthesis and are necessary for general metabolism.
As the food today is mostly poor in vitamins and minerals (even if you eat a predominantly fruit and vegetable-based diet), you should also be taking supplements. There are complex supplements that you can buy in any CVS, that contain dozens of vitamins and minerals in the pill form.
This kind of supplementation is a necessity today. Besides vitamins and minerals, you can also supplement your fiber intake and take other supplements for joint health, cardiovascular health and many others. You can also get a lot of these compounds from sources such as tea and supplements in the form of chewables and gels.
As your body does its job and your metabolism keeps your body ticking, oxidants form. These compounds can influence the way your body functions and significantly reduce your energy levels and health. To make sure you remove these oxidants, you should take plenty of antioxidants – this is not a difficult job, as you just need to start drinking red wine in moderate amounts and substitute sunflower seed oil for grapeseed oil.
We’ve mentioned red wine. Besides antioxidants, it also contains some alcohol which, when taken in moderate amounts, can improve your health and help with oxidizing your tissues. Alcohol does this by opening up your blood vessels and capillaries and letting more blood, nutrients and oxygen enter the cells in your tissues. The key here is to be moderate, as alcohol is a known neurotoxin and can cause damage to the body if abused.
Once the body is full of nutrients and other compounds it needs to function properly, it is time to start with exercise. Although many elderly think that exercise can damage the body, joints, and sinews, the fact is that it strengthens them. In addition to this, exercise improves your balance and flexibility, making you less prone to injuries and bone fractures.
Exercise for an Aging Body
When choosing exercise for your body, you should start carefully and build up. Excellent exercises for an aging body include yoga, stretching, and fast-walking. They help you build up your stamina and increase your strength. If you suffer from any medical conditions or chronic diseases, please consult your physician before taking up any exercise regime.
In addition to exercise, you should also stretch a lot. One of the most noticeable signs of aging is the loss of flexibility in the joints and a reduced range of motion. You should stretch daily to boost your body’s natural ability to produce elastin, which is the protein that gives your body flexibility.
Implement Exercise Throughout the Day
However, not many have the time to dedicate to exercising. In this case, implementing exercise into your day can significantly improve your health and stamina without taking up too much of your time. Implementing exercise into your day simply means:
- Hand cleaning your floors instead of turning on your Roomba,
- Mowing the lawn by yourself,
- Using the stairs whenever possible,
- Walking to the supermarket and other places in the vicinity,
- Having a walk with your friends instead of hitting the bar every other night.
Walking is another important activity that you should take up to improve your lifestyle, health and your life expectancy. It may not seem as much, but walking is an incredibly important physical activity that you can implement into your daily life without losing any of the quality and comfort of life. It is a common recommendation to walk at least 6,000 steps a day, while walking at least 8,000 steps a day can also boost your heart health, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and help keep your joints healthy and your body flexible.
Healthy Aging FAQs
Why Is a Healthy Lifestyle so Important in Old Age?
A healthy lifestyle is important in old age because it can significantly reduce the pace at which you age. You can influence the speed of aging by making some lifestyle changes, such as the food you eat and how much exercise you get in an average day. This will keep your blood circulation active and supply your body with all the nutrients it needs to function properly.
How Can We Maintain Good Health in Old Age?
Maintaining good health in old age is a matter of lifestyle choices. Too much alcohol, smoking, as well as too little exercise can reduce your health and life expectancy as well as drop your energy levels. To improve all of these at once, you should focus on eating healthy foods, exercising daily and cutting back on any bad habits you may have.
What is the Lifestyle of Old People?
The lifestyle of old people is, unfortunately, too sedentary. Ideally speaking, the lifestyle of old people should include daily exercise and pushing the body to the limits, although always in a safe way that will not endanger anyone. Needless to say, staying away from too much alcohol and other bad habits is the next best thing you can do.
What Are Health Promotion Activities for Elderly?
There are many health-promoting activities for elderly. They include making wise dietary choices and staying active throughout the day. Walking to the local supermarket and mowing your own lawn are often overlooked, but very effective activities that promote the health of the elderly.
It is often said that health is not what you get but what you keep while you still have it. Although true, the saying neglects the flexibility of the body and its own ability to repair itself. For this reason, it is never too late to start working on your health and changing your habits for the better. After all, there is not much else that can help you improve your health and reduce the risk of premature death.