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Simple Steps for a Longer, Healthier Life

Published online: Oct 11, 2023 Health & Wellness, Senior Living
Viewed 1956 time(s)

By Brian Ziel

Everyday we get older. As much as we may try to fight it, aging simply cannot be avoided. Fortunately, the team at Mountain View Hospital is here to help you age with grace. Here are simple steps we can all follow to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Never Stop Moving.

Everyone knows physical activity is a key pillar of health. But it is not just beneficial for building muscles when we are young. In fact, regular exercise is one of the best defenses against premature aging. It keeps your heart healthy, bones strong and can boost your mood.

As we age, our exercise needs evolve,” said physical therapist Lauren Whitney. “While exercise will always be a tool to increase longevity, it starts to become a key part of maintaining one’s independence. I always encourage seniors to focus on walking speed, balance, handgrip strength and moving from a seated to standing position. These four areas can have a huge impact on quality of life and help people continue doing the things they love for as long as possible.”

Improve your upper and lower body strength while you watch TV. Simply, alternate between squeezing a tennis ball or wringing out a towel with chair stands – where you repeatedly move from a sitting to standing position. These simple exercises will help you maintain your strength.

Maintaining your balance is equally important. Try taking a yoga or Tai Chi class! If neither of those sounds up your alley, blast some music and dance in your living room instead.

Stay Connected.

Friends are the ones we laugh with, lean on when times get tough and confide in. But in our sixties and beyond, friendships become more than social glue. Friendships become medicine.

Having a good friend can ward off depression, improve your mood, boost your overall health and even add years to your life.

Close, highly connected relationships are more important as we age than large peripheral connections,” said Dr. Troy Brumfield, family physician and Chief Medical Officer for Mountain View Hospital. “If you’ve just moved to town or have let friendships fade over the years, start building new connections by engaging in the community. Join a club, volunteer or sign up for a class and learn a new skill.”

Making new friends can take time. As you work to nurture new relationships, remember to be kind, work to be a good listener and open up about yourself.

Keep Cooking for Yourself.

When you prepare your own meals, you are in control of what you put in your body. There are no hidden ingredients or surprises. This can be particularly important when it comes to sodium. As we age, too much sodium can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even kidney damage. Processed foods, including frozen meals, often have high amounts of sodium to enhance flavors. Aim to prepare a majority of your own meals each week. Use colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains for a balanced meal. And when you buy pre-made foods, read the nutrition label to try to find options that have 5% or less of your overall daily sodium value per serving.

Make a List of your Medicines.

It doesn’t matter if you simply take a multivitamin each morning or multiple medications to manage your health, it is a good idea to keep a current list of all the prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines (such as Tylenol, allergy medicine or Tums), supplements, vitamins or herbal remedies you are currently taking.

Ideally, your list should include the dosage, frequency and the physician who prescribed it. Having one list gives you and your primary care physician a full picture of your health, makes it easier to check to see how medications may react to one another and identify if any changes need to be made to your prescriptions.

Medication can help patients manage their health and improve their quality of life,” said Whitney Cooley, Director of Pharmacy for Mountain View Hospital. “However, it is important to regularly review medications with your pharmacist or doctor because our health needs are constantly changing and medications may need to be adjusted accordingly.”

If you have a long list of medications, consider asking your pharmacist to review your list with you to make sure you do not forget anything.

Find a Doctor you Trust.

Aging comes with a lot of changes. A good primary care physician can help you navigate your evolving needs and prevent disease by identifying your risk factors, knowing your medical history, helping you develop healthy habits and referring you to specialists when needed. By finding and diagnosing problems early, they can help you improve your well-being and extend your life.

If you haven’t established a relationship with a doctor yet, Mountain View Hospital is here to help. Simply visit MountainViewHospital.org/doctors to see a full list of family practice providers. Aging may be inevitable, but you definitely do not have to do it alone.

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