Preserving Your Health As You Age

Appreciating your golden years is easier when you feel great, which is why you should do what you can to stay healthy and fit. Here are four tips for preserving your health as you age, so that you can look fantastic and feel even better.

  1. Focus On Daily Exercise

Exercise isn’t only about losing weight to squeeze into that little black dress. Because getting up and moving around is good for your body on a chemical level, exercise can help in a lot more ways than most people realize.

For starters, exercise helps people to regulate their blood sugars, warding off problems like diabetes and obesity. As you exercise, your brain releases dopamine, which is referred to by neuroscientists as the “reward chemical,” giving you a sense of satisfaction and boosting your self-esteem.

The benefits of exercise don’t stop with feeling better about yourself. Research has shown that regular exercise can also help the brain to fend off the progression of degenerative neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that adults who worked out regularly between the ages of 25 and 45 experienced less cognitive decline than their sedentary peers later in life, helping them to stay sharp and mentally agile.

If you are new to exercise, start by making an appointment with your doctor to talk about your current condition and how to begin an exercise regimen. Making simple changes like going on an afternoon walk or hitting the gym with one of your friends a few times a week might help you to stay healthier and happier.

  1. Pay Attention to Dental Health

Dental health and your overall physical health are completely separate, right? Not so much. New studies have shown powerful links between your systemic health and the condition of your teeth and gums, which is why everyone should take brushing, flossing, and visiting with their dentist very seriously.

The link stems from the fact that oral decay is caused by bacteria, which can eventually seep into your bloodstream, travel throughout the body, and cause all kinds of problems. Periodontal disease, a progressive oral illness that causes bad breath, infections, and even tooth loss, is especially prevalent in seniors. In fact, the CDC reports that an estimated 70.1% of adults over the age of 65 have some form of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, tooth loss and abscesses aren’t the worst things about periodontal disease. Since the illness can allow bacteria to ravage the systems of your body, periodontal disease has been linked to health problems like heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer.

To ward off periodontal disease and to protect your health, experts recommend meeting with your periodontist at least once a year for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation. Periodontists undergo years of additional training after their dental degrees, learning how to diagnose and treat patients with gum disease. During periodontal exams, your doctor will carefully evaluate your teeth, gum tissue, and underlying bone to check for inflammation, bone loss, and the signs of existing periodontitis. Periodontists can also talk with you about dental implants in Long Island, so that you can rebuild a smile that has been damaged by tooth decay.

  1. Make Friends

You might be busy each day taking care of your family and doing things like meeting with your periodontist, but don’t forget to spend some time with your friends. In addition to giving you some time to kick back, relax, and laugh a little, spending time with friends has actually been shown to be good for your health.

An Australian study that followed individuals for 10 years found that people who had close networks of friends were 22% less likely to die during the study than their peers without close networks of friends. In 2008, a separate study conducted by Harvard researchers showed that people with friends tended to have healthier brains as they aged. In both studies, researchers concluded that the benefits of friendships outweighed the health benefits of even close family friendships—which is why you should try to say “yes” the next time you get invited to go somewhere with a buddy.

  1. Take Time to Decompress

Stress can be hard on your body, elevating cortisol levels and putting your entire system into “preparedness mode.” Over time, excess stress can cause health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, an upset stomach, and even changes in your sex drive.

To live a better life, take some time every day to relax and decompress. Sign up for a local yoga class or spend a while everyday immersed in a good book. Engage in daily exercise so that you can relax and enjoy lounging in the evening when you go to bed. Practice meditation or prayer in order to gather your thoughts. Whatever helps you to relax, make sure that you make it a part of your everyday life.

You don’t have to feel like your age. By getting enough exercise, focusing on diet, hanging out with friends, and relaxing, you can feel years younger.