4 Ways to Improve Your Health as You Age
This is a guest post by Jennifer McGregor, pre-med student and cofounder of PublicHealthLibrary.org.
While advances in medicine are improving longevity for diseases like cancer and HIV, illness and disease are still prevalent. Many conditions are more common in older adults, meaning your risk increases with age. While total disease prevention is never a certainty, we can all take steps to develop positive habits that will keep us healthier as we age.
Have Fun: Smile, Laugh and Enjoy Life
Evidence shows that positive emotions can improve your overall well-being by reducing stress and even reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke and other serious health conditions. Smiling alone can improve your mood and give your mind a more positive direction, even if it’s a forced grin. Find the things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to show off those pearly whites!
Stay on Top of Oral Hygiene
As we age, we become susceptible to oral conditions that weren’t a problem in younger years. Dry mouth, root decay and gum disease are just a few conditions to fight against when it comes to oral hygiene.
Make sure brushing and flossing your teeth are incorporated into your normal daily routine. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. It’s easy to skip tooth care before heading to bed at the end of a long day, but make the commitment to stick to it. Brushing your teeth now can mean saving yourself from cavities, disease and massive dentist bills later.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables Daily
Diet plays an important role in overall health and longevity. Food is where your body gets the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables every day provides your body with an abundant source of the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy by boosting immune function and providing energy. It can even clean plaque from teeth, freshen breath and promote healthy gums.
Stay in Regular Contact with Friends
Isolation can lead to depression, anxiety and stress. In fact, the negative effects of isolation are comparable to the effects of obesity or smoking.
Many people find that as they get older, they spend less time with friends and family members. Make a daily effort to stay in touch with loved ones, and even consider adopting a new, furry one. Adopting an animal not only creates a constant companion, studies have shown it increases overall sociability by providing a friendly, tail-wagging ice breaker.
Growing older doesn’t have to mean declining health. Practicing healthy habits at an early age allows us to stay healthier and enjoy life for longer!
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.