Peaceful Aging: Four Health Ailments to Be Aware of as You Get Older
By Emma Sturgis
Aging gracefully takes a great deal of planning and preparatory work. While none of us can avoid the physical and mental challenges of aging, there are steps we can take now to build better health and reduce the impact of time.
Take Care of Your Brain to Protect Against Memory Loss
Keeping your brain healthy requires that you stretch and exercise it. Learning new activities on a regular basis is a great way to maintain brain plasticity and build new neural pathways.
Take Care of Your Teeth to Protect Against Gum Disease
Keeping all of your teeth as you age may seem like a tall order depending on family health and personal history. However, there are steps you can take to protect your teeth and avoid the need for false teeth.
- Quit smoking;
- Brush and floss regularly;
- Make regular visits to your dentist; and
- Monitor your gums for signs of gingivitis, such as inflammation or bleeding when you brush your teeth.
Move It or Lose It
One of the greatest risks to a healthy old age is simply becoming more sedentary. The pain of arthritis will not be made better by avoiding activity. In fact, for many sufferers, the loss of muscle tone will make joint inflammation even more painful. If it hurts to walk on a hard surface, find a gym and walk in the pool. This will protect you from falling and cushion your joints as you rebuild your strength.
As you get stronger and walking becomes easier, consider moving onto other exercises including riding a stationary bike or lifting weights. Work with a trainer to build great form so your exercises are building muscle, not putting unhealthy stress on your joints.
Avoid Isolation and Loneliness by Stretching Your Social Circle
Your spouse may not want to engage in the things you enjoy. Children move away. You can go from being a busy professional to a lonely person, stuck in their home and feeling more and more isolated.
Loneliness crushes the spirit and starves the brain. To avoid the damage caused by isolation, be ready to try new things. Consider starting this before you officially retire from the working world. Find a cause you enjoy and volunteer, or take a class on a subject you missed out on in high school.
You can reduce the challenges of aging by staying active, keeping up on doctor and dentist appointments, by staying physically active and by building new social connections. Your golden years can sparkle with a bit of flexibility and by choosing to learn something new!