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Staying Healthy As You Age

"I just don't have the energy. My body doesn't move like that anymore." No one looks forward to saying these things, but as you age you might feel this way. Although it doesn't always seem like it, physical activity actually increases your energy level and flexibility, as well as reduces aches and pains. Incorporating physical activity into to your regular schedule can be difficult if you feel your age is catching up with you. To be active at any age, you must eat right, exercise, visit your physician on a regular basis, and avoid health risks. However, as you grow older, it is important that you are more aware of the way you incorporate these elements into your life.

While it is important to discuss with your physician the best diet for you, there are several nutrients that most people need in greater amounts as they grow older. Since bones weaken with age, it is important that your body receives sufficient amounts of calcium, which helps keep bones strong and lower blood pressure. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you prefer non-dairy foods, calcium enhanced orange juice, soy milk, beans, oatmeal, and uncooked broccoli are good sources of non-dairy foods that provide calcium.

Like calcium, the need for fiber also increases as you age. Good sources of fiber, such as apples, citrus fruits, pears, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, and legumes, help prevent constipation and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as lower blood pressure.

Like your diet, you must also vary your exercise routine as you age. Exercise keeps your joints from stiffening, as well as increases muscle and bone strength. Remember to choose activities that aren't too hard on your body. After all, you are aging and your body's ability to function will decrease somewhat. However, physical activity will help slow this process. Fortunately, there are a number of activities that will provide the exercise you need and are low impact and less strenuous. Swimming, jogging, and walking are just a few of them. Even activities such as gardening or playing with children can be easy on the body as long as you don't overdo it. A combination of proper care, nutrition and exercise will help you to make your body last as long as possible.

Preventing yourself from overdoing it requires you to know key factors about your own health. As you age, it is important to monitor your health more closely and schedule regular visits with your physician. Discuss with your physician how often you should receive certain types of care such as dental, hearing, and vision. You also need to discuss how frequently you need be tested for conditions you might be at risk for such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. In addition, you need to note every check-up and test you receive, what they were for, and the date you received them. Using a chart is an easy way to keep track of these items. Remember to bring this information with you every time you visit your physician.

It is also extremely important to keep track of the medications you take. Again, a well-organized chart will help you record the names of medications, when you take them, your dosage, and what they are for. Logging this information can prevent your physician from prescribing two medications that are not safe when taken together.

Safety also needs to be considered at home. As you age, you must adapt your surroundings to fit your needs. Keep your home well lit, especially hallways and stairways. Remove or repair things that you might trip over, such as loose rugs or electrical cords. Ask a neighbor or family member to assist you with chores that require heavy lifting or the use of a ladder. Doing a chore beyond your capability can result in injury.

Exercising, eating right, visiting your physician regularly, and avoiding health risks are necessary whether you are six years old or 76 years old. Incorporating these elements throughout your entire life will keep you healthy as you age. Instead of saying, "I just don't have the energy," you'll feel like saying, "I feel great. Let's go for a walk!"

Craig M. Wax, DO, LLC of Mullica Hill, NJ provides information on health, nutrition, family medicine, preventive medicine, wellness, natural treatments, alternative medicine, integrative medicine, osteopathic medicine and just plain common sense.
Craig M. Wax, D.O., L.L.C. © 2014 ~ All Rights Reserved