Most of us are aware that aging increases the risk of developing certain illnesses and health issues. While it’s not possible to avert every disease or symptom, there are steps you can take to maximize the chances of enjoying good health later in life. It’s never too early to start paving the way for better health and wellbeing in the future.
Living an active lifestyle
Exercise is one of the most effective means of slowing the aging process, reducing the risk of poor health and boosting mental well-being. If you work out on a regular basis, or you have an active lifestyle, you’ll reap the rewards for many years to come. Physical activity improves circulation, strengthens muscles and bones and protects mental health. As you get older, you might find that you have to adapt your routine slightly or embrace different activities, but there’s no reason why you can’t remain active. Many people who are in their 70s, 80s or even their 90s still like to get moving. Inactivity is a significant risk factor for obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Protecting your vision and hearing
Many of us associate hearing loss and changes in vision to aging. Getting older does take its toll on our senses, but often, the decisions we make in our younger years play a part. If you are exposed to loud noises, for example, this could increase the risk of premature hearing loss. When you’re listening to music, or you’re commuting via the subway, bus or train, it’s crucial to use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones and to set the volume at a level that won’t damage your ears. Hearing aids is an effective solution for hearing loss, but it’s best to try and prevent issues. For optimum eye health, take regular breaks from phone and computer screens, install eye protection software and book an eye test if you do notice any changes in your vision.
Avoiding drinking and smoking
Drinking excessively and smoking have long-lasting implications for your health. Regular drinking is linked to liver cirrhosis and it can also put you at risk of some types of cancer and heart disease. Smoking is a major risk factor for many forms of cancer and respiratory diseases. If you’re worried that you’re drinking too much, keep a diary and calculate how many units you consume in an average week. Even if you have a glass of wine with dinner or you pop for a couple of drinks after work every Friday, you might find that you’re exceeding the recommended intake. You can reduce your consumption by changing your social activities, alternating soft drinks and alcoholic drinks or opting for low-alcohol or alcohol-free beverages. If you’re keen to quit smoking, there is help available. See your doctor and ask about local support groups and treatment options such as nicotine replacement therapies.
Aging increases the risk of developing many illnesses, but the decisions you make now will also have an impact. If you look after your body and mind now, you can reduce the risk of health issues further down the line.