Staying healthy as we age
By: Connecting Faith
Maintaining our health is important to do at any age, but there are things we can do now to maintain a healthier lifestyle later in life. Board certified family physician Dr. J. Scott Ries discusses preventative measures that we can take to protect our bodies from pneumonia and other illnesses as we age.
“First of all, maintaining your health. I’ll tell this to people who are younger now in their 30’s 40’s and 50’s: what you do now is going to reflect what happens to you if the Lord gives you life in your 70’s and 80’s. That’s incredibly important to understand.”
“The hydration, the amount of sleep that you get, the amount of exercise and physical tone you have in your body. The building blocks of your cells are what you consume and so it’s a garbage-in-garbage-out kind of thing.”
What we put into our bodies matters. When we maintain a healthy diet, it improves the stamina of our cells and strengthens our immune systems. Dr. Ries stresses the importance of drinking plenty of water.
“Hydrating adequately with water is critically important; keep those cells hydrated. It’s harder to do when you’re older than when you’re younger, but equally important.”
Another great way to maintain our health is to incorporate physical exercise on a regular basis.
“Getting some regular exercise. Science has proven that you don’t need to run marathons. In fact, you don’t even need moderate exercise, just light exercise. Getting up and moving periodically every day is enough to improve your health, improve your cardiovascular system, and secondarily, your immune system.”
“The immune systems tend to wane a little bit as you get older, so keeping it healthy naturally with sleep, adequate hydration, an appropriate diet, and a good amount of exercise is your number one defense.”
Dr. Ries points out that annual vaccinations can also help to prevent illness and promote a healthy lifestyle. He elaborates on the benefits of this preventative tool:
“There is a pneumonia vaccine that’s available, so talk to your doctor about getting that if you’re not allergic to some of the components. It can be very, very helpful in giving you some immunity before you get to that illness. Shingles is another thing that comes along more frequently as you age.”
Dr. J. Scott Ries is a board certified Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine physician, and founder of iFactor Health. A gifted communicator, he specializes in helping people make sense of today’s complex medical issues in a way that is clear and understandable.