Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Staying Healthy As You Age

Posted by William Kirkpatrick on Sep 12, 2016

concierge-doctor-1.pngGetting older is a natural part of life. As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including career changes, retirement, children leaving home, the loss of loved ones, and mental and physical changes as well. How we handle and grow from these changes is the key to staying healthy. 

It's never too early or too late to change bad habits and start good ones. No matter when you start, a healthy lifestyle can make a difference in how you feel and what you can do. These tips can help you maintain your physical and emotional health and live life to the fullest, whatever your age. Here are some healthy aging tips that are good advice at any stage of life:

  • Exercise regularly even if it means walking for 30 minutes per day. 
  • Maintain close relationships with loved ones and those in your community. 
  • Eat healthily with a well-balanced diet.
  • Don't ignore the doctor: depending upon your age you should regularly or frequently check-in with your doctor, dentist, etc. 
  • Remember to take the medications your doctor prescribes. 
  • Limit alcohol consumption and if you smoke than try to quit. 
  • Sleep is how your body rejuvenates mentally and physically. So, make sure you sleep at least 6 hours per night. 

What kinds of changes can you expect with age?

Physical changes are gradual and very common. Depending upon your activity level and family history, your metabolism may slow over time, which means that your body needs less food energy than before. The amount of sleep you get and quality of sleep will change over time. You may start to need reading glasses (most people start needing reading glasses around age 40) and you many have some hearing loss later in life. 

Internally, many of your bones become weaker with age. Most people around the age of 50 experience a weakness of their bones caused by osteoporosis. Bones can become thinner and more brittle, especially in women. Thinning bones and decreasing bone mass puts you at increased risk for broken bones. Be sure to talk with your physician about what you can do to prevent osteoporosis.

Many of your vital organs become less efficient with age.The kidneys are less able to keep enough water in your body and the heart can start to show signs of wear and tear. While a healthy diet and regular exercise can keep your heart healthy, it may become slightly enlarged, your heart rate may lower, and the walls of the heart may thicken.So as you get older, it's important to be physically active, drink plenty of water, choose healthy foods, limit alcohol intake and quit smoking. Doing these things will help your body work well for a longer period of time.

With old age, your skin may start to wrinkle and this depends upon how you protected skin when you were younger. The more you protected your skin from sun damage and smoking when you were younger, the better your skin will look as you get older. Start protecting your skin now to prevent further damage, as well as skin cancer.

How to cope with these changes

As you age, there will be times of happiness and times of sadness. The times of sadness are (obviously) much harder to handle. Here are a few tips and tricks to remember:

  • Focus on what you’re grateful for. It's not understood until later in life but the longer you live, the more you lose and the more life becomes precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you appreciate and enjoy what you have even more.
  • Express your feelings. You may have a hard time showing emotions but burying your feelings can lead to resentment, and depression. Find healthy ways to process your feelings such as talking it over with a friend or family member. 
  • Accept what you cannot change. There are many things in life that are beyond your control so instead of stressing out over them, focus on what you can control and make the best out of it. 
  • Search for opportunities for personal growth and learn from mistakes. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn how to not do them again. 
  • Confront and deal with challenges before anxiety builds. When a challenge seems too big to handle, pushing it aside and forgetting about it often appears to be the easiest option. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away; it allows both the problem and your anxiety to build. What you should do is take things one small step at a time. Even a small step can go a long way to boosting your confidence and reminding you that you are not powerless.

If you need help coping with mental and physical changes than consider the strong relationship and emotional connection you gain from having your own direct primary care doctor. With direct primary care, you have 24/7 access to your doctor's cell phone, unlimited visits, longer appointment times and regular health check-ups. If necesary, your personal care doctor will visit your house upon request. Direct primary care is all about you, your life, your needs, your health. 


Topics: Staying Healthy, Wellness, Aging, Elder Care, Healthy Mind