September is Healthy Aging Month and a perfect time to focus on good health and wellness leading into the colder months. Drawing on the “back to school” urge embedded in everyone from childhood, the month’s activities are designed to encourage people to rejuvenate and get going on positive measures that can impact the areas of physical, social, financial and mental wellness.
Why is Healthy Aging Important?
The number of people over 45 are growing every year and the attention on the Baby Boomer generation is shifting. Now, the Generation X-ers are elbowing their way in and have many of the same interests as the previous generation, including staying active and vibrant as long as possible. There are over 76 million baby boomers today over the age of 50 and the first of the 82.1 million Generation X-ers reached that milestone in 2015.
During these uncertain and difficult times, it is now more important than ever to follow a healthy lifestyle, remain positive, be passionate about life, and to look forward to better days ahead. COVID-19 has particularly targeted older adults and especially those with underlying conditions.
5 Steps to Healthy Aging
- Check Your Diet
Talk with your doctor or health care provider to decide on the best diet for you. Keeping up with your physical health is important and will also improve your mental health.
- Get fit. Stay fit.
Make it a goal to exercise at least 45 minutes a day. If you are struggling to be active, try tracking your activity to help you meet your goal.
Alternatively, Ottobock US has the Fitness App for Amputees. Designed specifically for lower limb amputees, this free app helps you achieve optimal outcomes with your prosthesis. The “Fitness for Amputees” app was developed by therapists and includes three modules:
- Strength & endurance
- Coordination & balance
- Stretch & relax
Each module includes multiple exercises that can be completed at different levels of difficulty, depending on your ability. The app allows you to set personal goals, track your progress, and even incorporate your own audio playlist into your program!
- Go Online for Fitness and Look for Free Classes
Search online for classes or programs to get your heart rate up and build muscle mass. Many are free, some have subscriptions. Check your local Y for free classes or go to the national YMCA website. Choose from yoga, Pilates, weightlifting, tai chi, and a variety of active older adult classes.
- Get Your Annual Check-Ups
Check-ups aren’t just for primary care providers. Outside of any problems you experience or direction you receive from your physician or therapist, it is recommended that you see your prosthetist or orthotists at least every six months. During these check-ups, it is important you talk about any changes to your health, concerns about your orthotic or prosthetic, or ask any questions you may have.
- Be Social and Build Your Support System
Find someone—such as a parent, family member, teacher, faith leader, health care provider or other trusted individual – that can help you reach your goals. Alternatively, peer group relationships can offer solutions or assistance through prior similar experiences.
Do not go through anything alone. Being social and having a trusted group around you will help maintain your mental health.