By Dr. Josh Hollinger
Men over the age of 60 face a number of health issues that may not be diagnosed unless they see their doctor regularly. Yet according to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, men are far more likely to skip health screenings and less likely than women to see a primary care physician. As men begin to age and the immune system starts to slow down, it becomes even more important to get the care needed to stay healthy.
Keeping that in mind, here are some health tips to help older men to age wisely.
Tip No. 1: See Your Doctor
It’s crucial to stay ahead of health risks like heart disease and prostate cancer. Regular health screenings can help men do that. Blood screenings help doctors diagnose risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Early detection of these conditions is vital for older men, since they will be able to take preventive action before they face more serious complications. It is recommended that men visit the doctor at least once a year for a physical exam with health screenings, and more often if you have a chronic illness like diabetes.
Tip No. 2: Get Moving
As the body ages, men begin to lose lean muscle and gain more fat over time thanks to falling testosterone levels. Walking, kneeling and standing become more difficult, and the risk for falls increases. Regular exercise is an excellent way to limit muscle loss. Callisthenic exercises like pushups, sit-ups, squats and jumping jacks work multiple muscle groups. They also increase balance and strengthen the heart. Regular exercise also leads to better health outcomes, like decreased blood pressure and better mobility.
Tip No. 3: Eat Healthy
A healthy diet also plays a critical role in the aging process. Eating smaller portions and choosing more health-conscious foods is an excellent way to avoid overeating. Choosing to snack on vegetables instead of carbohydrate heavy foods like chips, tortillas and fries will reduce the amount of empty calories in the diet and help the body feel more satisfied. Yes, it will be hard to turn down your favorite foods. Talk to your doctor about small, incremental changes you can make to your diet that you can stick to.
Your doctor and your health care team want you to live as healthy as possible so you can continue to enjoy what you love doing the most. Following these tips will help you achieve those shared goals.
Josh Hollinger, M.D., is a primary care physician at WellMed at Great Northwest in San Antonio, TX. He earned his medical degree from the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio, TX and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.