So how can you ensure healthy aging for yourself and your loved ones? There are 5 key areas that can promote and improve healthy aging in all individuals!
1) Social Connectedness
Social connectedness relates to the value and quality of our relationships and has a positive affect on our wellbeing and ability to cope with life’s ever changing ways! In addition, social connectedness can have a positive effect on other behaviours, like physical activity. For example, individuals are much more likely to participate in walking and exercise groups that other friends or family are participating in. This leads to increases in physical activity, which leads to positive changes in our bodies.
2) Physical activity
Physical activity provides individuals with not only physical benefits but also has a positive effect on our mental health and our social life. Regular physical activity, 2-3 times per week, has been associated with improvements in mental health, improved odds in staying healthy and recovery from illness or injury. Despite the substantial evidence of the importance and benefits of physical activity, the senior population is the most inactive. No matter your abilities or motivation, exercise and physical activity can always be tailored to work for you!
3) Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is important to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients you need to improve your health and wellbeing in addition to decreasing your risk for chronic disease. Obesity is on the rise within our population and continues to increase in the senior population. This obesity is typically due to poor eating and inactivity. Promoting health eating and increasing your physical activity not only can you cause a change in your body weight but can also decrease your risk of chronic disease, injuries and overall poor health.
4) Fall Prevention
Fall prevention has a significant effect not only for seniors but also on the health care system. It is estimated that fall related injuries can cost up to approximately 2.8 billion dollars a year. By working on fall prevention, safety, mobility, functional ability, independence of individuals can be maintained. Physical activity and strengthening can benefit individuals by working on areas of weakness and balance to maintain walking and decrease the potential of falling.
5) Tobacco Control
Tobacco use is common for many individuals. The biggest myth associated with tobacco use is that when you reach certain age it is too late to quit because you have already created harm to your body. However, it is never to late to quit smoking! Tobacco use is associated with the development and progress of numerous chronic diseases, mobility restrictions, disability and decline in physical function. By quitting smoking, no matter your age, you can greatly enhance your quality and length of life in addition to reducing your risk of disease, decline and death.
Where can I start?
Getting started on your health can be as easy as joining local exercise groups, working one on one with a physical therapist or engaging in more activity with family members! Whether standing and walking or using a wheelchair for mobility, physical activity can be tailored to work on improving your overall health and areas of injury or weakness.
Please view this article for more details regarding the benefits of healthy aging.