One of the worst things that seniors can do is to slow down too much during their senior years. Being inactive at that stage of life – when it can be avoided – is a mistake that could shorten your life. Longevity can only be assured by a more active lifestyle.
The more you slow down and become sedate, the more health problems you will likely encounter. It is natural that you lose some muscle mass as you age. As your muscles grow weaker, your ability to balance well and catch yourself if you fall means that a serious injury is just waiting to happen.
A fall could mean you become immobile and your muscles even weaker while you recover. Recovery time takes longer when you are older and your muscles will grow even weaker while you wait to become active again. Some people do not recover enough to get active again.
The Importance of Regular Exercise
The National Institute on Aging reveals a strong case for regular exercise that seniors do not want to ignore. This government agency reports that if you take 8,000 steps per day, that you will reduce your risk of death from any cause by 51 percent, compared to those who only walk 4,000 steps per day.
This message means that regular exercise can help your longevity. Just as important, though, it also means that it helps you stay independent longer.
Preventive Care Programs
It is quite likely that your health insurance company offers some kind of preventive care programs. These will involve exercise programs such as Silver Sneakers or exercising on your own, encouraging social activities, watching health-related videos or going to health seminars, etc. Some programs may also be available at your local YMCA.
They may even give you benefits for participating in the promoted activities – such as discounts, medical equipment, over-the-counter medicine and supplements, bonuses, etc. Some companies may even give you gift cards for participating in their various recommended activities.
Insurance companies make these offers for two reasons. First, they know it will improve your health and increase your longevity. Secondly – they are an insurance company – and they know very well that healthier subscribers need less health care than unhealthy ones. Being healthy and active costs them less money. For you, it means that you stay mobile longer and pay less for copays and coinsurance.
Programs in nutrition are also available for seniors either from your health insurance company or online. Unless you are already well-informed about healthy eating and diet, you could probably benefit from this type of program – at least to get you started in the right direction. Remember that a poor diet leads to a weaker immune system and unhealthy conditions that may not be seen when you are younger but will certainly impact your health when you are older.
Cutting down on salt and sugar – think soda and energy drinks – can also improve your physical and mental health. Starting to follow the guidelines for a Mediterranean-type diet – eating more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, has been found to provide better cognition. In some cases, you may need to add vitamin supplements to your diet.
Get Better Sleep
Having a good night’s sleep is also healthier for older adults. As you get older, you probably find that it is more difficult to stay asleep, but sleep is just as important for seniors. Getting enough sleep has been found to help with depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more. This is where exercise can help – it will enable you to sleep better.
Preventive care programs are available from many health care insurance programs – or in online videos. Get active with some of them and improve your health – and increase your longevity at the same time.