According to the Centers for Disease Control, 45 million adults in the United States are 65 or older. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 80 million, or about 20 percent of the population. Americans are living longer than ever before. TRICARE wants you to have the highest quality of life as you age.
Many Medicare beneficiaries are subject to chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Age also brings a higher risk of dementia and infectious disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Infectious diseases such as flu and pneumonia affect the older population much more than younger populations. But there is hope! Much of the illness, disability and premature death from these conditions can be prevented with healthier behaviors, more supportive environments, and better access to preventive services.
Healthy behaviors can include eating healthy foods, following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You should also get regular check-ups with your doctor and live an active lifestyle.
The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. It is also important to do strength training twice a week. Try to do a variety of activities such as walking, biking or swimming. It makes exercising more fun and reduces risk of injury.
If you are at risk of falling or have trouble walking, you should also do balance training at least 3 days a week. These exercises include backwards walking, sideways walking, heel or toe walking and practicing standing from a sitting position. Tai chi, a Chinese martial art, can also help with balance.
If you have a chronic condition or a disability regular activity can still improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of developing other conditions. Talk to your doctor to develop a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. Some exercise is better than nothing at all, according to the CDC.