Not so many years ago, poor health was regarded as being a natural consequence of old age, something that very few people would be lucky enough to avoid. Today, improved nutrition, better housing, and healthcare mean that we’re living longer, and nobody wants to spend decades in steady decline; so, what to do? By making a few simple changes to the way you live your life, you can increase your chances of maintaining a good level of fitness and be able to make the most of life even in your eighties or nineties – or beyond.
Get plenty of aerobic exercises
The number one thing you need to do as you get older is to keep your heart and lungs in good condition. The World Health Organization recommendation is to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking, swimming or cycling) every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (such as running or playing squash). You can break this up how you like if each session is at least ten minutes long. This will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Think about posture
It’s harder to exercise if you’re often in pain, and the number one cause of preventable pain in later life is bad posture. It’s never too early to correct this. Good posture doesn’t mean sitting or standing straight and rigid all the time – in fact, everyone has a slightly different naturally healthy position – but it does mean not slouching, choosing well-designed seating and getting early help if back or neck problems develop.
Get the right gear
Exercise is much easier if you have the right gear, and these days it’s more accessible to find what you need. As seen on TV products include everything from insulated socks for cold weather hiking trips to compression clothing you can wear in the gym. High quality gear means you’ll get more out of the exercise you do, toning your muscles more effectively. It also reduces your risk of injury and helps to support limbs that have been injured or weakened by problems like arthritis.
Adjust your diet
The older you get, the less you can get away with eating whatever takes your fancy. Cutting down on red meat and dairy products can do a lot to help your health, as can eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. Your risk of diabetes goes up with age, so try to cut out refined sugars where you can – soda is the single biggest source for most Americans. Treat yourself to foods and drinks associated with longevity, like fresh fish, nuts, dark chocolate, coffee and red wine.
Cut out risk factors
When older your body can’t deal with toxins as efficiently as it once did, so smoking and drinking alcohol to excess become more dangerous. It’s also important to be wary of prescription drug addiction, a serious problem for many seniors. Cutting out risk factors like this can add years to your life.
Staying fit isn’t a mystery and it isn’t something that works only for the lucky few. even if you’re unlucky enough to be ill, you’ll be better off than you would have been, so it’s always worth making the effort.