The Senior’s Guide to Staying Healthy Year-Round
No matter your age, it’s important to take care of your body and prevent illness.
But if you’re 65 or older, something as simple as the flu or a common cold can progress and lead to complications. This includes secondary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, an ear infection, or a sinus infection. If you have a chronic condition such as asthma or diabetes, a respiratory illness can make these worse.
Because of this, it’s important to make healthy choices to strengthen your immune system and reduce the likelihood of illness.
Follow these five tips to stay healthy year-round.
1. Get active
Physical activity is an immune system booster. The more you move, the more your body is able to fight inflammation and infections.
The activity you partake in doesn’t have to be strenuous. Low impact exercises are effective, too.
You might consider biking, walking, swimming, or low impact aerobics. If you’re able to, engage in moderate intensity exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes a day to reach the recommended total of 150 minutes a weekTrusted Source. Also, strengthen your muscles by lifting weights or doing yoga.
Modify your exercise routine to find what feels best for you.
2. Take supplements as necessary
Some supplements help support a healthy immune system. Before taking a supplement, always ask your doctor if it’s safe, especially if you’re taking a prescription medication. Some supplements they may recommend include calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, or vitamin B12.
Take supplements or multivitamins as instructed to boost your immune system.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats also give your immune system a boost and protect against harmful viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and keep your body healthy.
You should also limit your consumption of sugary and fatty foods, which can trigger inflammation in the body and lower your immune system.
In addition, limit your intake of alcohol. Ask your doctor about safe amounts of alcohol to drink per day or week.
4. Wash your hands frequently
Washing your hands on a regular basis is another excellent way to stay healthy year-round. Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. It’s possible to become ill if you touch a virus-covered surface and contaminate your hands, and then touch your face.
Wash your hands with warm soapy water often, and for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your nose, face, and mouth with your hands.
You can also protect yourself by using antibacterial hand sanitizer when you’re unable to wash your hands. Also, disinfect surfaces around your home and workstation frequently.
5. Learn how to manage stress
Chronic stress increases your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can disrupt different functions in your body, including your immune system.
To reduce stress, increase physical activity, get plenty of sleep, set reasonable expectations for yourself, and explore relaxing, enjoyable activities.