As we get older, prioritizing our health becomes increasingly important year-after-year. This leads many of us to consider ways we can improve our well-being through adopting healthy New Year’s resolutions. If you don’t know where to begin, start by considering the following age-appropriate lifestyle choices that focus on making 2021 the year of self-improvement. Here are five of our top New Year’s resolutions that will help aging adults lead more active and happier lifestyles.
1. Start a Physical Therapy Routine
Staying active is key to reducing aches and pains and increasing mobility. As we age, we can lose bone density, run the risk of fractures, and experience balance issues that may result in falling or injury. Beginning a physical therapy regimen can help mitigate these problems as we move into our golden years. If you are in your 60’s, we recommend talking with your NWPC health provider about low-impact exercise options to increase strength and prevent further bone loss. Before you start any exercise program, you will want to have your physician perform a balance assessment and bone-density exam to ensure they’re safe.
2. Prioritize Regular Exams
Stay on top of your health by maintaining regular check-ups, even if you feel healthy. Annual exams are crucial for preventative care and useful for catching potential health risks early, which is useful for protecting your overall well-being and discovering serious health concerns. In addition to a general physical, work with your NWPC primary care physician to develop a yearly wellness check-up regimen. During this exam, your doctor will create a long-term comprehensive wellness plan to keep you in your prime for years to come.
3. Take Control of Hypertension
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can appear at various stages in your life and may not present any symptoms until it’s become a serious health concern. Left undetected, hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. Speak with your NWPC practitioner about your high-blood pressure risks and obtain a diagnostic test. If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, several lifestyle changes can help reduce and reverse the disease:
- Maintain a Healthy Diet: Cut-out high-sodium foods and eat a balanced diet that incorporates more legumes, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Give Up Nicotine: Nicotine is known to elevate blood pressure and raise heart rates. While the increase itself is temporary, heart damage caused by tobacco can have a severe impact on blood pressure down the line. Smoking narrows and hardens your arteries, which has long-lasting effects on your heart. Quitting smoking has immediate health benefits, dropping your blood pressure within only 20 minutes. The longer you stay off nicotine, the lower your risk for developing hypertension.
- Stay Active: Low-impact, moderate exercise has been proven to reduce hypertension in older adults. A leisurely walk, swimming, and using a stationary bike are all great ways to get some exercise and increase heart-health. Only 30 minutes, five days a week is enough exercise to impact your blood pressure significantly.
4. Add Technology to Your Health Care
Keeping up with exercise schedules, staying on top of medication, and going to your doctor’s office can be a lot to juggle. Luckily, there are ways technology can help you take control of your health. Fitness apps can help you track your exercise routine, provide easy to follow workouts, and alert you to your activity schedule. Some smartwatch apps can remind you to fill prescriptions, monitor heart rates, and help count calories. If you need to speak with your healthcare provider about any health concerns, telehealth appointments can give you high-quality care from the comfort of your own home.
5. Review Your Annual Medicare Benefits
Medicare plans can change with each new year. Don’t let any unforeseen adjustments in your insurance prevent you from seeing your doctor or managing your health. Review your medicare benefits yearly to ensure your plan is still right for you. Questions to consider when assessing your medicare are:
- Are NWPC providers covered under my current plan?
- What are my premium, copay, and deductible amounts?
- What types of emergency or hospital care is covered?
- If I need to make changes, what is the open enrollment period and deadlines?
Take Charge of Your Health in 2021 with NWPC
If you are looking for health resources or want to schedule an annual exam to get you ready for the New Year, NWPC is here for all your healthcare needs. We accept numerous Medicare plans, have locations across Portland, and specialize in senior care. Call and schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners today.