Healthy Aging


Adopting healthy habits and preventing disease can be the key to staying healthy as we age.

Black woman with group of other older adults doing water aerobics in pool.


Healthy Joints and Bones

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As you age, the fluids that lubricate your joints decrease and the cartilage protecting your bones can start to break down. Joints become stiffer, less flexible, and may cause discomfort. While some damage to joints can’t be reversed, taking care of your joints can help reduce pain or discomfort. Strengthening your muscles with certain exercises can add density back to your bones and protect your joints.


Know the Importance of Nutrition

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Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the health and well-being of all individuals, including older adults. As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, and ensuring a balanced diet essential for maintaining and protecting overall health. Adequate intake of essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, is crucial for supporting the immune system, promoting bone health, and preventing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

Eating a balanced diet can also enhance cognitive function and provide the energy needed for daily activities, improving both physical and mental well-being. Focusing on your individual nutritional needs becomes even more important as you age.


Get More Calcium and Vitamin D

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Aging can make you more susceptible to osteoporosis (weak or brittle bones) and more likely to fracture. While anyone can develop osteoporosis, certain age groups are more likely to develop the disease. Osteoporosis affects about one in five women over age 50, but only one in 20 men. Along with adequate exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, adding more calcium is critical for bone strength. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt contain calcium. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, and some fish, like salmon, also have calcium.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium more efficiently. Getting enough of both nutrients is important for making your bones dense and strong. You can get some vitamin D from sunlight. You can also find vitamin D in salmon, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, milk, and orange juice.

Getting enough vitamin D in your diet can be difficult, so taking vitamin D supplements can help get you to your recommended levels. Make sure you talk to your health care provider about what vitamin levels are appropriate for your health and if any supplements are necessary.


Stay Active

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Exercise can prevent many age-related changes to muscles, bones and joints. If you feel pain or discomfort during exercise, talk to your health care provider. If you're starting a new exercise routine, consider easing into it with low-impact exercises like walking, aquatic exercise, dancing, or yoga.

To promote healthy bones, choose weight-bearing exercise, such as strength-training, hiking, climbing stairs, tennis, and dancing. This type of physical activity can help build and strengthen your bones.

When exercising or participating in any physical activity, it’s important to stretch and warm up. Cold, stiff muscles can lead to injuries and put your joints at greater risk of strain and overloading. Start with light cardio, like taking a short walk. This can loosen your muscles and joints. Stretching is best after you’ve already warmed up. Seniors should be stretching at least three times per week to enhance balance and flexibility. 


Maintain a Healthy Weight

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Being at a healthy weight can lower your risk of developing osteoarthritis, a condition that affects joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis can impact any joint, but it often targets the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Staying a healthy weight can also help manage chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you experience unintentional weight loss or gain, or if you're unsure about what your healthy weight should be, speak to your health care provider about your individual needs.


Prevent Falls

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Unintentional falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among Florida residents ages 65 years and older. In 2021, 3,805 older adults ages 65+ were fatally injured in a fall. By reducing your chance of a fall, older adults can stay independent and have an increased quality of life.

The following practices are recommended for older adults to reduce their chances of falling:

  • Exercising regularly (especially leg strengthening and improving balance).
  • Having an eye doctor check your vision at least once a year.
  • Evaluating your home environment and removing items that can make it unsafe, such as rugs or other tripping hazards.
  • Review all medicines with your health care provider. Some medications can increase your risk of instability.


Lower Your Risk of Cognitive Decline

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In 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people over 65 with Alzheimer’s doubles every five years, and that number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060. 

Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk for cognitive decline by adopting a healthier lifestyle.


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Florida Department of Elder Affairs - Comprehensive resource directory for Florida's older adults. Additionally, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs provides programs and services that promote the well-being, safety, and independence of seniors, their families, and caregivers.

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