Easy Lifestyle Tips That Help Seniors Thrive
Getting older today is easier in many ways than it was in the past. Not only has healthcare improved vastly, but modern medicine has also given us a greater understanding of what we can do to counteract aging, prevent disease, and promote good health in our later years. These guidelines, courtesy of Enjoying Aging, cover scientifically proven steps that anyone can take to improve their performance, both physically and mentally.
Maintain a Social Life
A healthy social life staves off feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can contribute to serious mental health issues such as depression. Research from the National Institute on Aging has further shown that socially active individuals display lower levels of a protein known as Interleukin-6. This inflammatory agent is linked to a raft of age-related ailments, including Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Keep in touch with friends and family, whether it’s simply a matter of enjoying a cup of tea together or going for a walk. Take the time to video chat with those who live far away. Finally, if you find your own social network is insufficient, look to make new connections. Create a book club, join a community gardening initiative, or try volunteering locally. Additionally, studies show that volunteering may reduce stress.
Make Exercise Fun
As the body ages, strength, flexibility, and balance all naturally decrease. Maintaining a physically active lifestyle helps combat this decline. So, look for senior-friendly exercises that challenge you but are still safe. For instance, if you have weak knees due to arthritis, steer clear of high-impact exercises that stress joints like running. Instead, opt for senior-friendly activities like swimming, cycling, tai chi, or yoga.
Group exercise courses are another wonderful option to promote healthy aging. Working out alongside other individuals will keep you motivated and can make breaking a sweat more fun. This also provides valuable social interaction, as discussed above, and can serve as yet another way to meet new people and expand your network.
Adopt a healthy diet
Your body needs food to fuel its day-to-day functioning — and not just any food. An appropriate balance of vitamins and minerals according to the recommended daily allowance is ideal. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans — 92 percent according to The Biostation — have a deficient dietary intake of key nutrients like vitamins A, D, C, and E. As such, seniors should incorporate vitamin-rich foods into their diets, including foods high in fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
If you still struggle to get the appropriate balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet, talk to your doctor about incorporating a nutrition-rich beverage into your daily routine. Your physician can run a simple blood test to see what nutrients are lacking. They can then make recommendations for an appropriate solution that will meet your needs.
Stimulate your mind
The concept of "if you don't use it, you lose it" doesn't just apply to your body. It's also applicable to your mind. Scientists believe that staying mentally active allows the mind to resist damage that may come with age, as Psychology Today explains. Continuing education programs for seniors have proven effective in slowing mental decline, for example. And if you did decide to take classes, signing up for and completing coursework has never been easier thanks to online offerings like the master’s degree programs from Phoenix University, through which more than 6,000 master’s degrees were awarded in 2019.
You don't have to go back to school to keep your mind fit, however. Try crosswords, Sudoku, or puzzles. There are even brain-training apps you can download, like BrainHQ and CogniFit.
The above tips can be adopted at any point in your life to encourage healthy aging for the future. The goal isn’t just to stay fit in mind and body but also to enjoy the actual process. When you’re having fun, you will start to feel more vibrant. In this way, you can truly make the most of your golden years.
Photo Credit: Unsplash.com
A special thank you to Dan Hall at dadschange.com for contributing this article.
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