5 Health & Diet Tips for Older Women
While men and women share a lot of the same health issues as they age, there are some health issues that aging women are more likely to experience. For example, women are more likely to have arthritis, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Older women also tend to have more memory problems. The good news is, some of these conditions can be managed and prevented. In recognition of National Women’s Health Week starting on May 13th, we’re sharing some small steps senior women can take to stay in their best health for years to come.
Physical exercise has numerous benefits. Even just 15 minutes of brisk walking a day can control weight, strengthen bones and muscles, sharpen memory, and improve mood. Regular exercise also helps prevent and manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Another excellent form of exercise for seniors is yoga, as it is one type of exercise that improves balance and coordination.
Exercise your brain
Stimulating your mind keeps it sharp. Research shows mental exercises can reduce the chance of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70 percent. Seniors should spend at least 20 minutes, three times a week doing mental exercises such as reading, writing, playing board games, and doing crossword puzzles.
Get your Zzzz’s
Quality sleep plays a vital role in our health. However, women report having more sleep problems than men. It’s recommended that seniors get between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. It reduces the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Sleep also helps our brains function better and improves our immune system. Seniors who are sleep deficient may have a harder time fighting common viruses, like a cold or the flu.
As we age, healthy eating is still important. Fruits and vegetables are key components of older women’s diets. It’s recommended that we eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but less than a third of senior adults do. Make sure your loved one gets a variety of fruits and veggies in their diet. The darker the color, the more nutritious. Vitamin D is also important for senior women as it’s essential for strong bones and can prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Don’t forget your check up
Many women brush off their annual health exams. However, it’s important that women maintain relationships with their gynecologist and primary care physicians as they age. Doctors provide a more complete picture of your health status and history. They help set health goals and ensure your loved one’s getting the proper vaccines, tests, and screenings.
Celebrate National Women’s Health Week by encouraging a senior woman in your life to consider a few of these health tips. Make it a family effort with mothers, daughters, and granddaughters participating, too. To make it easier, try focusing on only one or two tips at first. It is beneficial to get women of all ages involved in healthy habits!
National Institutes of Health