5 Ways to Age with Grace

Staying Healthy

by Joseph Ellick, Jr.

Feeling great and staying healthy is critical for all ages. That does not change as you grow older and start to see strands of grey hair.  But the steps to staying healthy really depends several things: coping with major life experiences, losing love ones, facing retirement, and dealing with physical change.

“With motivation and small change in your daily routine there is always an opportunity to be healthy no matter the age,” said Dr. Francis Salazar, a specialist in clinical research and internal medicine with offices in Pembroke Pines and Miami.

People are living longer than ever before, said Salazar. He maintains that all it takes is for you to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Children growing are taught to live a healthy lifestyle including eating a balanced diet, keeping their mind and body active, avoiding smoking, and practicing safe habits to prevent injuries. Salazar said one thing you can’t avoid is how our minds and bodies change as we age. There are many factors in a person’s life that add to those changes such as stress and time. September is Health Aging Month, and Dr. Salazar offers you 5 tips to help you not only stay healthy, but to age with grace.

Strengthening Body with Calcium

Calcium is very important, but is usually forgotten in an average person’s diet.  Its primary purpose is to strengthen bones, teeth, as well as help your nerves and muscles function properly. When your body is not getting the proper calcium intake, your bones lose minerals which weakens substantially, according to Salazar. You can meet your calcium needs by adding a dairy product to your diet including yogurt, cheese, and milk. Yes, they meet your calcium needs; however, to avoid extra calories, experts suggest purchasing them in the non-fat or low-fat varieties. Greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale are also excellent sources of calcium.

Improving Sleep Habits

Not getting sufficient amounts of sleep is often attributed to poor health. By adding more sleep to your regime, you will wake up with more energy to get through the day. Experts suggest staying away from late-night eating and drinking. You should set a regular sleep schedule, including naps.  Improving your sleep habits can help prevent health issues like insomnia and sleep apnea.

Building Mental Stimulation 

Just like your body, your mind needs proper care to properly function, too. As you age, your mind doesn’t necessarily have to deteriorate if you take the time to stimulate your mind. The brain is a muscle just like any other body part, so you need to consistently work out your “brain muscle” to keep it strong. Mental exercises such as reading, playing crossword puzzles, and engaging in stimulating conversations will keep the brain sharp. The mind never stops working because you’re older; it stops working when you’re not exercising that muscle, said Salazar.

Creating Exercise Routine

Exercising is a basic way to stay healthy no matter how old you are. As you get older, exercise routines get simpler.  For example, a 70 year old won’t need to stay in the gym for 5 hours in order to stay in tip-top shape. For older adults, Salazar suggests walking around your neighborhood or performing moderate exercises like jumping jacks or jump rope for at least 30 minutes to help maintain a healthy weight.  Exercise is imperative to your health because it is the key factor to avoid complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

Avoiding stress

Stress comes in many forms and is often difficult to measure. Some people find it easy to deal with stress while others stress out over the slightest things. For health sake, avoid stress at all cost.  Finding time to relax is critical. Taking a long relaxing bath, scheduling quiet time to watch television, or just listening to music can be the best remedy for lightening your stress load.

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