Get Regular Check Ups
Regular check ups are the best way to catch any health concerns early and ensure you can live a long and healthy life. There are a number of recommended checkups and physical “exams” you should get if you’re serious about living a long and healthy life. Whether you’re in the prevention or diagnosis stages of your health, here are some of the many types of checkups you should get on a regular basis:
- Health annual physical (once every year)
- Semi-annual checkup (once every 3 months)
- Blood pressure (once every 6 months)
- Cholesterol profile (once every 6 months)
- Breathing Tests (once every 6 months)
- Prostate cancer blood test (once every 6 months)
Know Your Risk Factors
Your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s increases with age. Like it or not, over time you are more likely to develop one or more of these illnesses. As you age, however, you can slow the process of aging and improve your health by making a concerted effort to actively manage your health.
The best way to start is to understand your risk factors and implement a plan that helps you manage risk factors through regular screening, nutritional support and changes in your lifestyle.
Drink Enough Water
Getting the right amount of water is important for overall health and energy. Hydration is essential for your neurotransmitters and other important chemicals. When you drink enough water, you’re able to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, which keeps you from feeling sluggish and foggy. For instance, even mild dehydration has been shown to have an adverse effect on cognition.
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that adults drink about ten 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but every person is different, and you may require more than that. If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough water, there are a few ways you can tell if you’re getting enough.
After you pee, the urine in the toilet bowl should appear light yellow or almost clear. If the color is darker than a light yellow, that means you’re not drinking enough water since your body is more concentrated.
You should also feel less thirsty during the day. Aside from being a cue that you need to drink water, thirst can be a warning sign of dehydration, especially if your urine becomes darker than normal.
Get Enough Exercise
Regular physical activity helps your heart pump more blood and oxygen to your muscles and organs. The more oxygen you have, the more energy you have. And you don’t need to break into a sweat to reap the benefits. In fact, research has shown that moderate activity for as little as 10 minutes three times a week can have a positive impact on your health, even if you don’t do it every day.
If you’re really pressed for time, pick activities that can be done in chunks. “Any activity you can do in segments is good, said Dr. Mangat. Standing for a few minutes between phone calls, riding a bike to work, taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator, or climbing a flight of stairs once a day at home can all help contribute to your goal.”
Aim to increase your activity level gradually, and try to do at least some activity most days of the week. “If you are not doing any exercise but you can start with anything, anything that is calorie burning is good,” said Dr. Mangat. Ideally, this would amount to about 30 minutes per day.
Get Enough Sleep
If there are two things that you should never skimp on, it’s your fitness and your sleep. After water, rest is the most essential thing to the human body. Lack of sleep has been proven to do more damage than dehydration.
We lose about a million brain cells every day. These are replaced through a process that requires us to sleep. We need to remove the old, spent cells and replace them with new brain cells. During sleep, the memory centers of the brain are stimulated to continue the process of replacing these cells.
A 2010 study found that women who slept under five hours a night on average had a 25% increased risk of death over the next 16 years.
Sleep isn’t just for your body, it’s also for your mind. Studies have shown that sleep helps to erase negative emotions such as stress and anger. If you’re not sleeping enough and you find yourself too stressed to function properly, you can develop depression… which epidemiologic studies have proven to be a powerful risk factor for early death.
Listen to Your Body
People give up when they start out because they lack patience. Your body can’t go from 0 to 60 in one week. It takes some time to change the habits that might have been around for decades.
To get started, focus on smaller goals that can lead up to where you want to be. Break it down into chunks that are more manageable. A great way to take action on this is to write down a few things you’d like to change, such as exercise more or sleep better. Be honest with yourself and really think about it.
Once you know what you need to change, you can make it happen. Put this list in a spot where you see it every day. Things you put in plain view are more likely to happen. It’s the same with stairs. Have you ever watched a person try to walk down the stairs and trip multiple times? It’s common. It’s also because of the miscommunication your brain had between your eyes and your feet.
Some people say that they go to the gym and workout, but they’re really just sitting at the coffee shop. Once you know you have to put something in plain sight, you’ll make sure to do it.
Listen to Your Gut
Men over the age of 70 who have shown no signs of IBD, heart disease, cancer or diabetes show almost no symptoms of trouble with gluten. Many men experience no symptoms of any kind. The key is to listen to your body.
Abdominal pain is a common indication of gluten sensitivity. Nausea and vomiting and diarrhea are also common. If you don’t know gluten is a health concern for you, you may simply chalk these feelings up to the natural effects of aging. When intestinal symptoms are the only signs of trouble, they often aren’t taken seriously.
Instead, they are dismissed as an inevitable part of the aging process. When your intolerance symptoms include weight loss or intermittent fever, intestinal symptoms may be completely overlooked as a source of the problem.
When a man finds relief from severe hip or back pain after eliminating gluten, he may credit physiological improvement to being in better physical shape after eliminating gluten. A man who has struggled with a mental health issue such as depression may write off improvements as a byproduct of taking an antidepressant. Determining whether you are suffering from gluten sensitivity can be tricky.
Listen to Your Mind
We all get thrown off a little when it comes to exercising at times. There are days when we don’t feel like heading to the gym but our head tells us we should. One way to ensure you stick to your exercise routine on these days is to listen to your mind and body.
If you’re planning to hit the gym, but your body doesn’t want to get up off the couch, try a different kind of exercise. Taking the dog for a walk around the block can be good exercise, and you’ll enjoy it with your pet. Or you may decide to take a morning walk instead of running on the treadmill. The choice is yours, but if you get active even in baby steps, you’ll be keeping your body healthy and balanced.
Find Things That Make You Happy
When you focus your schedule on doing the things that will bring you the most happiness, you’ll find yourself making better decisions.
You might think that an activity is stressful now but that it will make sense to you in the future. If you’ve already found it to be stressful, it probably won’t get easier. You also might think that an activity is going to be too difficult to be worth the effort. If you’re convinced that it’s something you’ll never want to do again, it probably won’t turn into a positive experience for you. But if you’re looking forward to something, you’ll suddenly start to see things in a more positive light.
But even if you’re not looking forward to an activity, you can put your heart into it and make it work out anyway. It’s a lot easier to get yourself going when you have some energy and excitement to work with.
In 2013, researchers from Brigham young University evaluated the effects of loneliness on seniors. They discovered that seniors who are socially isolated are twice as likely to die prematurely and are 25 percent more likely to die from any disease than those that are not socially isolated.
According to the authors of the study, not having a tight bond to your spouse, siblings, or cousins is just as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. They also found that being married increases the chances of survival by 50 percent.
The moral of the story is to not isolate yourself. Reach out to people that you enjoy being with. You can even bond with someone else over a mutual hobby and start exercising together.