Things might not be as easy to do as when you were younger, but there’s no reason you can’t be healthy and active as you move through your senior years. Even if you’ve never done anything for your wellness before, there’s never been a better time to start. Those that keep up a healthy lifestyle and focus on wellness will have more energy and better health to see them through these golden years.
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These 11 tips are especially for wellness and health for seniors. Start adopting them now to start feeling like the best version of yourself at any age!
1. Eat for good health
The foods you eat will give your body the vitamins, minerals, and essential antioxidants it needs to keep you healthy, active, and fighting off disease. In particular, eating more plant-based foods like fresh vegetables and fruits will help boost your immune system and keep your gut health going strong. Choose lean meats for your proteins and whole grains to keep you feeling satiated.
Additionally, you’ll want to limit your intake of fatty and sugary foods. These can set off inflammation in your body. At an older age, it’s even more important to eat foods that fight off inflammation as it often leads to chronic disease. Berries, fatty fish, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, and peppers are excellent choices for anti-inflammatory action. Have some green tea and use extra virgin olive oil when cooking to help your body the best of everything it needs.
2. Take supplements and medication as instructed
Even the young and healthy will take supplements to round out their dietary requirements. As most seniors are prescribed medications for other conditions, it’s essential to discuss with your doctor first about any supplements you can and should take. Always start with that checkup first before ordering vitamins and supplements.
Your doctor may suggest things like calcium and vitamins D, B6, or B12. However, in your 70s and beyond, it is vital to make sure that nothing you take will impact any medication you’re on.
3. Keep your hands clean
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we all could do with cleaner hands. Before eating or touching anywhere on your face, wash your hands. Make sure you clean them after using the bathroom too. This will keep rogue germs from getting into your system. Beyond the age of 65, your immune system needs all the help it can get to stay strong. This simple step can keep you from falling ill to pathogens that you encounter.
4. Don’t ignore stress
Perhaps you’re in your retirement, but that doesn’t mean life is without its stresses. On a fixed income, many things can keep you up at night worrying. But all that stress brings out cortisol, the hormone your body creates when stressed. With too much of it, it can cause trouble for your immune system.
Staying active is a great way to keep stress at bay. You may also find that meditation and yoga help you feel on top of the things that cause you stress. It could be a walk along the lake or at the park, playing cards with friends, or even petting an animal. As each person is different, find something that helps you relax and do it every day.
5. Make time for your sleep
Another way to handle stress is to get enough sleep. This is the time when your body is busy repairing itself. Getting the right amount of sleep results in better immunity which means you’ll stay healthier.
Trouble with sleep?
That’s another one to discuss with your doctor. Often, there are underlying causes. As you age, it is much more common to wake to use the bathroom, sometimes more than once. Some conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome may also be the culprit. Get a checkup and express your concerns to your doctor, who can help you find the way to your best sleep.
6. Focus on prevention
That old expression about a stitch in time is true about health as you age too. For those 65 and older, you should never miss those yearly vaccinations. If you can prevent getting sick, why wouldn’t you? Vaccines for the flu, pneumonia, and meningitis are recommended for your age group.
Additionally, take advantage of health screenings. These will check for cholesterol, colon cancer, heart problems, and other common health problems that tend to arise with age. When you keep things in check, it is more likely that you can prevent them and even turn things around if your doctor finds something is wrong.
7. Drink more water than before
As you move into your 70s and 80s, drinking water is even more important. At this age, you’re more prone to dehydration. In these tender years, you need to keep sipping water, so your mind and body stay finely tuned and healthy.
8. Take care of your mental health
Most people think of health as getting exercise and eating right. Some remember that sleep is a critical part of the equation. But another one that gets ignored is mental health. To keep your mind sharp, read and write every day. Crossword puzzles and word games are another way to stay sharp.
If there’s a hobby or activity you’ve wanted to try, go for it! Trying new things will stimulate your mind and make you feel younger inside and out!
9. Spend time with others
If the family lives nearby, make sure you have time with them. Spending time with grandchildren can help keep you young and brighten your mood, which wonders for your overall health.
When there’s no family nearby, you can spend your time until the next visit with others in your age group. Make friends with neighbors or join a senior group. New to town? Find your community center or gym where there will be programs designed especially for seniors so you’ll have something to do.
10. Don’t forget your teeth
Bone loss and oral health decline are common parts of aging. But to keep your teeth intact and your gums in good health, make sure you brush and floss each day. You’ll want to do everything you can to keep chronic inflammation away so you can stay healthier all over.
11. Always be active
Naturally, the last tip is about exercise because it is one of the most important points for health and wellness in your senior years. You don’t need to participate in a triathlon, but doing daily exercise within your capabilities helps chase away depression. It also improves your overall energy and even activates your mind. A simple walk each day can keep you healthier for longer while keeping your immune system strong.
Safe Exercises for Seniors to Stay Healthy
Along with the tips above, putting exercise into your life ensures you won’t be sedentary. To have an active lifestyle, you’ve got to get started now so you can reap the benefits of better health and longevity.
As part of the aging process, physical exercise may not come as easily to those in their 70s and 80s. But if you get moving, you’ll feel happier and will be less likely to depend on others. No one ever wants to be a burden on loved ones, so keep active to avoid it. You’ll also avoid falls that can put you out of commission when you are active because you work on maintaining balance. Often when seniors fall, it is because they’ve lost a sense of balance.
Exercise means more energy to do the things you love with the people you love. It fights disease, keeps your mind sharp, and can help you sleep better at night. The mind and body are closely linked, meaning that a healthy body means that the mind is healthy too. Regular exercise may even reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s or dementia, so grab your sneakers and get ready for these safe exercises for seniors!
Not only is being in the water cool and refreshing, but it’s also an easier way to get in a workout without putting pressure on your joints. The water’s buoyancy takes that stress away from your joints, all while creating natural resistance like adding weights would do. When you engage in water aerobics, you build strength, balance, and flexibility with minimal stress to your body. Plus, you’ll likely have to join a class for this, which means you’ll make new friends that are trying to keep active and healthy like you!
But if there’s no class, you can use your pool. Be sure that your doctor gives you the go-ahead for this exercise and you can do aqua jogging, flutter kicks, leg lifts, or standing push-ups along the wall while in the water.
If the thought of sitting in a yoga class with people 50 years your junior is intimidating, there are senior yoga classes. Chair yoga is among them, allowing for a more accessible way to build your muscle strength and flexibility while improving your mobility and balance.
With chair yoga, you will have less stress on your joints and muscles, making it easier for older age groups. Chair yoga also boosts mental health, helps you sleep, and improves your mood.
Use resistance bands
If your doctor authorizes it, you can get resistance bands to use at home. These stretchy rubber strips add more resistance yet are ideal for beginners. They can help strengthen your core from which all the body’s movements come, which helps your balance, posture, and mobility. They’re easier to use than weights, and you don’t have to worry about hurting your toe if you drop one!
Want to keep things simple as you work on your senior health and wellness? Start with walking. You can walk with friends or on your own. Try getting up to 10,000 steps a day unless you have difficulty walking or joint pain. Your doctor can help you set a reasonable goal that works for you. While it might not seem as strenuous as other forms of exercise, walking can lower your risk for diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer. It can also help prevent stroke.
Find a place to walk that is safe and on your level of fitness. If you live in a hot climate or don’t fair well outdoors in the heat of the hotter months, take your walking to the nearby mall where you can safely walk in a calm and air-conditioned surrounding.
Fight muscle loss with bodyweight exercises
Using your weight to fuel your workouts will help prevent muscle loss for those in reasonable health and mobility. Do it now before it’s too late, as muscle loss can cause hormone problems and make it hard for your body to process protein. All you’ll need is an excellent mat to soften the impact from the floor when you do lying hip bridges, bird dogs, and side-lying circles. You can also do squats, though modify them, so you squat above a chair. That way, you can sit and rest if needed.
If you’re still quite mobile, dumbbells are a great way to keep your metabolism going and enhance your control over glucose. Ask your doctor if dumbbells are a good choice for your situation. Choose ones that are lightweight and keep up the repetitions to help you strengthen your muscles.
Why Staying Healthy is Important as You Age
While you’ve worked hard your whole life and accomplished your share, getting old should not be your excuse for not taking care of your health. Plenty of seniors go to the gym and live on their own without depending on others. How is that possible? Because they take care of their health.
Staying healthy is also ideal for getting a lower premium when it comes to life insurance at an old age. If you want to avoid costs for medical expenses and other things that tend to come with age, do yourself a favor and focus on the prevention aspects to keep yourself looking, feeling, and acting decades younger!