Aging can be either something that we look forward to or something that we dread, depending upon our outlook. It may feel frustrating to see our body unable to handle as much stress as we put it through in our younger years, which might make some of us fearful of the condition of our bodies down the road.
Maintaining physical health can be crucial to a long and happy life, allowing us to keep participating in the activities that we love. But, as the body changes through the years, it begins to react differently to the environment. It can no longer walk for as long as it used to, or it cannot bear as much physical stress.
However, you can still maintain a certain level of physical fitness. How often do we see inspiring stories of a person who is over 80 years old completing a marathon? Obviously, not all of us can do one even in the prime of our youth, but it goes to show that you can continue working on your physical health as you get older. There are some great methods you can try that will keep your body on the move for years to come.
Stretch, stretch, and stretch some more
How limber you are goes a long way toward determining how mobile you can be. Even if you are not someone who engages in a lot of cardio or physical activity, stretching every day will help you maintain your health. You can make some time to stretch when you wake up, before you go to bed, or even throughout the day. The key is to try to improve your flexibility, which decreases the likelihood of injuries and increases blood flow, two things that are critical to maintaining long-term health.
Learn to manage pain effectively
Unfortunately, the reality of aging is that your body will likely experience chronic pain in some way. In order to sustain your ability to participate in regular activities with little to no pain, you may have to learn some practices to manage it. Some pain management methods that could help are meditation, consistent stretching and exercise, and medication. Deciding what works for you and your lifestyle will be the key to avoiding chronic pain later, which limits the activities that your body can handle going forward.
Avoiding the risk of costly injuries
When we are young, we like to take risks. As we grow older, we become more wary of the ways that we can injure ourselves since our bodies are not as durable. You may need to tone down on the intensity of activities or exercises that you partake in, or think more about the potential risks of say, a hike on a steep incline. Injuries become more common as we age, and those with elderly parents have seen this. When your parents have been injured in a nursing home, whether through neglect or otherwise, it can be a devastating event. The more that can be done early on in terms of keeping our bodies healthy and strong, the more likely we can avoid drastic injuries later in life.
Stick with a healthy diet
Another crucial factor that will determine our long-term health is eating healthy foods, which becomes a necessity as we get older. Falling into the trap of “I’m getting older, I will eat whatever I want,” can create more risk of disease or injury. The effect of certain foods on our bodies multiplies as we age, so it becomes even more important to understand what we are putting in our bodies. A balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, meats, and beans will help you avoid unnecessary calories while packing in the necessary nutrients. The more you take care of your body now, the better off it will be 10, 20, and even 30 years down the road.
Find habits that work for you
Going on a run is not for everyone. Counting calories and tracking what types of food you eat every day is also not for everyone. As you consider your long-term health, come up with habits that will work for you and can become a consistent pattern. Will you stretch for 10 minutes at the beginning of every day? Will daily walks become a part of your routine? How will you be proactive in managing chronic pain before its onset? Having a plan for yourself that gives you confidence and represents consistent investment in your health will prepare you for the natural aging process. Instead of fearing the aging process, these tips will help you to embrace it.