Staying healthy in your golden years
May 27 is National Senior Health & Fitness Day. While people are living longer, healthier lives, it’s important to know how to take care of yourself.
Here are some tips and tricks for taking charge of your own health:
Vitamins and Supplements
A healthy diet of a mix of nutritious foods is the best way to get vitamins and minerals. However, as the body ages, it’s easier to become deficient in certain nutrients and diet alone may not be enough. Adding in supplements can help, but talk to your doctor first to ensure there are no issues in combining them with your current prescription medication regimen.
- Vitamin B12: Used by all the cells in your body, but especially the ones in the brain and spinal cord. A deficiency can cause anemia, confusion, agitation or hallucinations.
- Vitamin C: Offers antioxidant protection against free radical damage, helps keep blood vessels strong, and supports healthy teeth, gums and bones.
- Vitamin D: Helps maintain healthy bones by stimulating the absorption of calcium in the body. Recently, research has shown higher intakes of vitamin D3 may support overall cellular health.
- Calcium: Essential for building strong bones and teeth, and many people fall short of meeting the daily requirement.
- Iron: An important mineral in red blood cells, an iron deficiency may cause fatigue and anemia.
- Magnesium: Helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong, the heart rhythm steady and decreases inflammation markers associated with major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
- Zinc: An "essential trace element" because very small amounts are necessary for human health. It is used for boosting the immune system, treating the common cold, preventing lower respiratory infections, maintaining vision, and can be used for a host of other diseases and conditions.
- Potassium: An important electrolyte, it regulates the balance of fluids inside and outside cells, including in the blood, and is particularly crucial to heart, nerve, and muscle health.
- Fiber: In addition to aiding digestion and the body’s process of waste elimination, fiber helps with blood sugar control and weight loss, can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, aid in skin health, and help prevent a variety of digestive-related issues such as IBS, diverticulitis, kidney stones or gallstones.
Tools and Devices for Self-Monitoring
With today’s technology, there are many vital signs and body functions that can be self-monitored instead of waiting until a doctor’s visit. To maintain good health, it’s important to track heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and sleep quality, in addition to managing weight, eating a healthy diet and staying active.
The latest trend - wearables - comes in a few different forms such as bracelets, watches and small clip-on devices. These tools can check key vitals and body functions at the push of a button, providing a wealth of information in a few seconds. Additionally, they frequently sync with popular apps such as Health Mate, RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal and LoseIt to help set fitness goals, monitor activity and adjust behavior. Having so much information right at your fingertips provides knowledge, can empower change and positively affect health.