Your body is always changing, so this year you should make it a priority to keep up with your health. Here are a few changes you can make to make sure you live a happy and healthy year:
- It is a good idea to make an effort to visit the doctor annually, if not more for a check up. This way your GP may be able to spot changes, or suggest things to help you maintain your independence and health.
- Staying physically active is key to healthy aging. If you are just starting out, think about committing at least 10 minutes a day to exercise, and gradually increase this as it becomes a habit. Eventually you can work up to the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Reduce the risk of falls. About one in three older people fall each year. Eliminate trip hazards in your home, install night lights so it is easier to see at night. Exercises that increase your strength, balance, and flexibility also help you avoid falls. Also talk to your GP to check your medication is not increasing your risk of falling.
- It is never too late to quit smoking! Cigarette smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease as non-smokers. By quitting you can reduce your risk of many health problems, breathe easier, have more energy, and sleep better if you quit. Don’t lose hope in you have not succeeded in quitting in the past – on average, smokers will attempt to quit about four times before they do for good!
- Keep an eye on your sleep. Adults, no matter their age, need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. If you are struggling to sleep talk to your GP.
- Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. About 1 in 5 older adults suffer from depression or anxiety. Some possible signs of depression can be lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed. You may also have difficulty sleeping, worry, irritability, and wanting to be alone. If you have any of these signs for more than two weeks, talk to your GP and reach out to friends and family.