4 Healthy Choices It’s Not Too Late To Make

By on October 20, 2015
4 healthy choices it's not too late to make

By Shaun Chatman –

As Baby Boomers age, some feel that they cannot make significant lifestyle changes that will make them healthier. In many cases, this is not true. There are many things you can do to improve your health at any age. Start with these four health choices that it isn’t too late to make.

Get More Exercise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Taking a brisk walk each day can meet that recommendation.

Seniors should also do muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days per week. Lifting weights is a good option, but you can also do body weight exercises at home (sit ups, pushups, etc.), work in the yard, or take yoga classes.

Assuming that you don’t have any serious health conditions, you can always use more exercise. If you feel up to it, add more time to your daily workout routine.

If you find physical activity difficult, you can break exercise into ten-minute periods. Many people find that this helps them build the strength and endurance they need for more vigorous activities like jogging or cycling.

Improve Your Diet

What you eat has a significant influence on your health. As you age, though, your caloric and nutritional needs change. Eating the same diet you enjoyed in your 20s isn’t necessarily the healthy thing to do when you’re over 50.

Eating fewer calories is one important change that you can make. A young man should generally eat between 2,200 and 3,200 calories per day. Older men should aim for 2,000 to 2,800 per day. A similar rule holds true for women. A woman who needs 1,800 to 2,200 calories when she is young will need between 1,600 and 2,200 when she’s older.

People also need to add extra protein to their diets as they age. Simple ways to add protein to your diet include:

  • Snacking on nuts throughout the day
  • Drinking protein shakes after exercise
  • Including seitan, tofu, or tempeh in meatless dishes

It’s important to have your blood tested to make sure you are getting the right nutrition as you age. Visit your doctor to determine whether you need to alter your diet.

Stop Smoking

Giving up cigarettes and other tobacco products can improve your health within just a few hours. This is true whether you have been smoking throughout your life or you just recently picked up the habit.

Within 12 hours of your last cigarette, your blood’s carbon monoxide returns to normal. Your blood pressure and heart rate will also drop during that time. Within three weeks, your circulation and lung function will improve.

Of course, there are plenty of long-term benefits, too. A year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease falls to half the risk faced by those who still smoke. Five years after you quit, your risk of oral cancer falls by 50 percent.

Even if you were never a smoker, you should still visit the dentist at least twice a year. Oral cancer rates are higher for older adults, so you need regular screenings to spot early warning signs. A dental discount plan will make your biannual visits and other services more affordable.

Get Better Sleep

Contrary to a common myth, seniors need the same amount of sleep as other adults. Many, however, find that they are sleep deprived even when they spend eight hours a night in bed.

Sleep deprivation can come from any number of sources. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Medication side effects
  • Anxiety
  • Health issues

It’s also important for seniors to go to bed when they feel tired. Many people over 65 experience advanced sleep phase syndrome. This causes people to wake up earlier than they did during their younger years. Many, however, continue to go to sleep at the same time they hit the hay when they were much younger. That often means that they do not get the amount or quality of sleep that they need for good health.

No matter how old you are, you always have time to make healthier choices. These four suggestions can put you on track for a longer, healthier life.

Shaun is a freelance writer from Florida. He loves writing, but also loves spending time out in the beautiful Florida weather fishing and boating. For more of his work, check him out on Twitter.

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4 Healthy Choices It’s Not Too Late To Make