Aging is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to feel young and maintain your health in the process.
“Embracing the art of aging starts with identifying issues that reduce quality of life and creating a care plan to address these concerns,” says Robert Keyes, MD, PhD, geriatrician and co-director of The Christ Hospital Center for Health and Aging. “If we want to preserve our physical and cognitive abilities, then we have to exercise them.”
Dr. Keyes shares five tips for aging gracefully.
Eat right and supplement nutrients when needed
Maintaining a healthy diet is especially vital to prevent age-related health issues such as heart attacks, stroke and dementia. To reduce these risks, indulge in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean meats and fish.
Calcium absorption and vitamin D production decrease with age. To get adequate amounts of these essential nutrients (required for bone and heart health), Dr. Keyes suggests taking a 600 mg calcium supplement twice daily and 800-1000 units of vitamin D3 daily.
“Research proves that exercise is likely to increase our lifespan,” says Dr. Keyes. Exercise decreases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity and depression by maintaining muscle and bone strength and endurance.
Most healthy baby boomers should focus on the four basic types of exercise.
Keep up with immunizations and screenings
Immunizations, such as the tetanus, pneumonia and influenza vaccines, as well as screenings for cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, hearing and vision can help prevent age-related diseases.
Monitor and manage medications
Make sure that each doctor and specialist you see has an accurate, up-to-date list of your medications.
Use a single pharmacy to track all of your medications and prevent dangerous drug interactions; carry a list of your medications with you in case of emergency; and store medications in a weekly pill organizer to stay on schedule.
Keep your doctors informed
If you see a primary care physician and several specialists, keep each of them up-to-date.
Don’t be afraid to seek help along the way
“A strong social network that includes your family, friends and health providers can often be the key to maintaining your health and independence,” says Dr. Keyes.
Learn more about The Christ Hospital Center for Health and Aging.