As men age, their health needs change, so it’s important that they take proactive measures to maintain good health in both mind and body. While aging can come with particular challenges, there are plenty of ways that senior men can improve their health and maintain an active, fulfilling lifestyle. Whether through exercising, maintain a balanced diet, receiving regular check-ups with their healthcare provider, or engaging in hobbies and social activities, plenty of strategies can help men stay healthy and happy as they age. To honor Men’s Health Month, we have compiled five things to do now if you’re a man over 65.
1. Exercise Regularly. Exercise is one of the most important things older men can do to improve their health. It helps to maintain muscle mass, reduce the risk of falls, improve mood and emotional well-being, and prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. While most believe osteoporosis is only a risk for post-menopausal women, men over 70 have an increased risk, too, particularly if they suffer from reduced testosterone, poor nutrition, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Older men should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise weekly. Aerobic exercise can include activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. It is crucial to implement strength training exercises at least twice a week. Strength training includes lifting weights or using resistance bands. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise. Men over 65 should also speak with their doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if they have health concerns.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet. Nutritional needs change for men as they age. They require fewer calories but more nutrients to maintain their health. A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Older men should also limit their intake of saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars. A diet rich in whole foods can help reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
Men over 65 should also ensure they get enough vitamin D, calcium, and B vitamins, which are essential for bone health. If necessary, they can speak with their doctor about taking supplements.
3. Stay Socially Active. Staying socially active is essential for mental health and well-being. Social isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and chronic conditions like heart disease and stroke. Though older women are more likely to report they feel lonely, men are more likely to experience depression and develop suicidal thoughts and tendencies in old age. These feelings multiply when they become socially withdrawn. Men should stay connected with family and friends, participate in community activities, and pursue hobbies and interests. Volunteering or joining a club or organization can also be a great way to meet new people and stay active.
4. Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is vital for overall health and well-being, but older adults often have trouble sleeping. They may have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough sleep. Poor sleep can increase the risk of falls, cognitive decline, and chronic conditions.
Men over 65 should aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. They should also establish a regular sleep routine, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, and avoid using electronic devices before bedtime to avoid sleep disturbances that grow increasingly common with age. They should speak with their doctor if they have trouble sleeping.
5. Attend Regular Check-Ups. Aging men should work with their doctor to attend necessary health screenings and receive yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines. For illnesses and conditions, patients and doctors should work together to develop a treatment plan that includes medication, lifestyle changes, and regular check-ups. The patient should also monitor their symptoms and report any changes to their doctor. Senior men with chronic conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, or diabetes must manage these conditions. Taking care of existing conditions is imperative for maintaining health and preventing complications.
In addition, older men may experience sadness, loneliness, or anxiety. In fact, in 2020, men between the ages of 65 and 74 had a suicide rate of 24.7 for every 100,000 people. This number is over four times higher than women in the same age group and almost twice the national average. These statistics highlight why men over 65 should prioritize their mental health and seek appropriate help if they are struggling with mental illness.
Senior Living Communities Can Help
Maintaining healthy habits isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are living options that support successful aging. Many senior living communities offer fully equipped fitness centers to take the guesswork out of starting an exercise regimen. There are fitness classes, such as senior yoga, to help improve balance and flexibility. A community setting makes social involvement easy for seniors with a variety of activities, events, and common areas for residents to mingle with their neighbors and guests.
Some communities, such as Clearwater Living, offer dining programs like the Savor Culinary program, which provides residents with chef-inspired meals made-to-order and nutritious snacks. The inventive dishes are both nourishing and delicious, and can be enjoyed in one of the many inviting culinary venues within the community.
Clearwater Living’s trademark lifestyle philosophy of Empowered Living™ is integrated into each community, incorporating the six dimensions of wellness for optimal health. The holistic approach encourages residents to live a balanced lifestyle through purposeful connections, meaningful programs that stimulate the mind and body, and engaging activities.
Contact us to learn more or to schedule an exclusive tour of one of our exemplary communities!