Getting older doesn’t mean that your health has to suffer. In fact, modern medicine and nutrition science has made it so that older Americans are healthier than ever. The best part is that there are simple steps you can take each day to support your health and improve your odds of living a long, happy life.

While you’re encouraged to work with your doctor to address your specific health needs, below are some tips to help you stay healthy as you age:

1. Get Active

Physical activity is a cornerstone of better health. The human body is designed to move, and recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can have detrimental effects to overall health. This is why you’re encouraged to engage in appropriate exercise on a regular basis. Only you and your doctor can decide what’s appropriate for you based on your medical history and medical needs, but having an activity plan in place is a great way to protect your health.

2. Follow a Healthy Diet

Just like with exercise, eating right for your needs is also vital to protecting your health as you age. Older Americans may have different needs compared to younger people when it comes to nutrition, so you may need to work with a nutritionist to address special medical concerns you might have. Additionally, you should not make drastic changes to your diet without first consulting a medical professional. This is especially important if you take medications or you face a with chronic medical condition.

3. Take Advantage of Medicare

If you’re over the age of 65, you likely qualify for Medicare benefits. Medicare is a government-subsidized health insurance program that offers benefits to seniors and certain individuals with qualifying disabilities. Medicare benefits cover costs associated with things like doctor visits, hospital admission and prescription drugs, and for most seniors, plans are affordable. To get the most out of Medicare benefits, take advantage of preventive care including annual wellness visits and screenings.

4. Protect Your Mental Health

While your physical health is important, don’t forget to protect your mental health as well. As people age, many find themselves in situations where they spend less time with family and friends. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and when it does, mental and emotional wellbeing can suffer. This is why older Americans are encouraged to not only keep connections with family and friends open, but also to seek out medical help if mental health concerns begin to show up. Medicare Part B may help cover the costs of any mental health care you need.

5. Don’t Neglect Healthy Sleep

Sleep is used as a time of healing and rejuvenation. While your body is in deep sleep, your mind works through problems and gets a much needed boost after a stressful day. On top of that, your body uses time spent asleep to target and repair injuries, fight off illness and overall protect your health. Sleep patterns can change with age, but finding and staying on a healthy sleep schedule is important. Likewise, getting enough quality sleep each night can help you to live a happier, healthier life. In some cases, medical intervention may be necessary to reset troubled sleep, but doing what you need to do in order to get good sleep is worth it.

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