As you age, there are 4 steps you can take to improve and maintain your health:
1. Get the right amount of exercise – Exercising is well worth the effort, but committing to a regular exercise schedule isn’t always easy. If you’re feeling stuck, consider what is standing in your way and make a plan to overcome it.
Here are 5 steps to help you get started:
a. Mix it up — Choose activities you enjoy and make exercise fun.
b. Buddy up — Exercising with a friend or family member makes it more likely you’ll stick with your plans.
c. Set realistic goals — Start slow, make sure to give yourself time to recover, and gradually speed up as you get stronger.
d. Divide it up — Three 10-minute walks are just as good as one 30-minute walk.
e. Time it right — The time you exercise every day should be when you have the most energy during the day.
Exercise has many benefits. By exercising, you can:
• Burn calories
• Tone muscle
• Keep your bones strong
• Boost your mood
• Improve chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and more
2. Learn how to improve balance and prevent falls – Although home accidents, such as falls, are the main cause of injury among older adults, the good news is that most of these mishaps can be avoided.
Here are tips to improve balance and prevent falls:
• Stay active
• Check your vision
• Understand side effects of medications
• Avoid drinking too much alcohol
• Prioritize your sleep
• Get the right equipment
• Tidy up at home
• Wear nonskid, rubber-soled shoes
• Talk to your doctor
• Take your time
3. Strengthen your bladder to avoid incontinence – As many as 1 in 3 people in the United States have problems with leaking urine (urinary incontinence). Many people don’t tell anyone — including their doctors — about their symptoms, as they are often embarrassed. But speaking up pays off, because there are a variety of ways to end or lessen the leaks.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence — or leaking urine — can be short term or long lasting (chronic). Short-term incontinence is often caused by other health problems or treatments. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing urinary incontinence. There are many types of chronic urinary incontinence. Here are a few:
• Stress incontinence means that you leak urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or do something that puts stress or strain on your bladder.
• Urge incontinence is an urge to urinate that’s so strong that you can’t make it to the toilet in time.
• Overflow incontinence means that you have the urge to urinate, but you can release only a small amount. Since your bladder doesn’t empty as it should, it then leaks urine later.
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and sour or tart foods. They can irritate your bladder.
• Eat more fiber to prevent constipation, which can contribute to urinary incontinence.
• Don’t smoke. It can cause chronic coughing, which can damage the muscles that control the flow of urine.
• Limit the amount of liquids you drink before bedtime.
• Manage your weight.
• Go to the bathroom at several set times each day.
• When you urinate, practice double-voiding. This means going as much as you can, relaxing for a moment, and then going again.
• Use a journal to track your symptoms and any leaking of urine.
4. Care for your mind, body, and spirit – Your mind and body are connected. You deserve care that supports your total health.
Mental health support
Mental health care is not one-size-fits-all. Since people have different cultures, life experiences, and priorities, treatment is different for everyone. The type of provider you see, how often you see them, and how long your treatment lasts, will be tailored to you.
Together, these 4 things can make it easier to live longer, healthier, and more independently.