If you’re independent, it’s hard to admit that you need help every once in a while. And unfortunately, as you get older, it gradually gets harder to remain completely self-sufficient. But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to continue to be able to do things for yourself. Surely there has to be a way to slow down the aging process, right? Absolutely! A way to ensure you can still be active and take care of yourself is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, which is something that everyone at every age should be doing. Aside from independence, benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors include:
- More energy
- A social lifestyle
- Mental sharpness
- Disease prevention
- Decreased risk of falls/injuries
So, what exactly is a healthy lifestyle? When you think about it, the term itself seems vague and unpromising. And usually, when something is vague, we associate it as a negative thing. However, this can be a good thing. If there is a broad term with no clear meaning, then it becomes your chance to define it and apply it to your life. In other words, a “healthy lifestyle” can be translated into an improved lifestyle that molds into your life.
That may sound great, but what are some examples of how to lead a healthier lifestyle? How can you start if you don’t even know which way to turn? Well, examples of a this includes:
- A healthier diet
- Brain training
- Adopting new hobbies
- Dropping bad habits
And most of these are a lot easier than you might initially think. So let’s get into how you can incorporate each of these into your everyday routine.
A healthier diet
Take a moment to write out what you typically eat in a week. What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do you snack between meals, or replace meals with snacks? Do you eat dessert? What do you typically drink throughout the week, and how often?
Addressing these questions is important because it forces you to look at the bigger picture of your typical diet. Maybe you eat a lot of meat, or not enough. Maybe you only get around to drinking a bottle’s worth of water every day, or there are days where you skip water altogether and favor iced tea or soda.
Once you write out what your diet tends to look like, it’s time to figure out what you’re wanting to improve. Is your goal to lose weight, reduce your sodium intake or increase your energy? Identify a goal before you can start creating a list of strategies and tactics.
Now comes the fun part: planning your meals. Compare what you’re eating with healthier options. If you enjoy red meat, like beef or pork, try switching to white meats, like chicken or turkey. If you’re not already, try incorporating fish into a meal, like Atlantic salmon. Ensure you’re getting a healthy balance of grains, greens and starches on the side, too.
Examples of these include:
Eating a healthier diet will help you retain energy and promotes healthy aging, which is something you definitely don’t want to pass up.
Many seniors believe they are well past their years of exercising. However, for a majority of seniors, this is not true. There are plenty of low-impact exercise routines that seniors can do at a great benefit. These exercises include walks, swimming, cycling and Pickleball.
Here are the benefits that each of these workouts give to seniors:
- Walks. Walking may be the best form of exercise among seniors because there are a lot of advantages for seniors to go on walks. First and foremost, it does wonders for your health. Walking not only improves your heart health, but it also lowers your blood sugar. High blood sugar could leave to dizziness, trouble breathing, extreme thirst and more, which makes it all the more important to do what you can to lower it.Other benefits to walking include its ease on joints and low risk for injury. The tissue around your joints gets thicker as you age, which makes it harder for your joints’ ability to move in varying ranges, and your cartilage begins to thin out. That’s why it’s important to find an exercise that has low impact on your joints, like walking.
- Swimming. Speaking of low-impact exercises, swimming is a perfect example of one. The water in the pool, lake or ocean that you swim in makes for the impact on your joints to be low. It also means that you don’t realize how hard you’re working out because you don’t feel it.Swimming is also great for helping you strengthen stability and lower your risk of falling. This is because you are helping establish yourself against any waves or currents, which is harder to do in the water than it is when you are on land.
- Cycling. Seniors who regularly participate in cycling exercises are stronger overall, whether it be in other physical activities or in everyday life. Cycling is also a great relaxation sport that builds your stamina, especially among seniors who cycle on both flat land and bumpy terrains. This is because cycling requires your entire body to work, not just your legs.Additionally, cycling promotes a better mental health, too, which will leave you in overall better moods.
- Pickleball. Pickleball is a sport that mixes in elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. It’s an increasingly popular sport, especially among seniors. In fact, there is a restaurant in some states that allows guests to play pickleball while they are eating.
Pickleball is a great way to quickly burn calories and strengthen your agility. It’s also a great sport for anyone who is recovering from an injury to get some cardio. NPR released a report that anyone who plays pickleball is burning 40% more calories than they would just by walking.
There is a Pickleball website available for anyone who is interested in getting started with the sport. It provides an in-depth lesson of how to play the sport and tells you where in your local area you can play the game. Luckily, it’s easy for everyone to pickup and offers a lot of fun.
Be more active
There are things you can do that promote healthy living outside of eating habits and exercise, including being more active. If you’re able to, opt for taking the stairs over the elevator. Or try the traditional form of shopping by visiting stores as opposed to shopping online. These are the little things that you can do to ensure you age in a healthy fashion.
You can also be more active by tapping into your creative side. Get more into art or cooking if these are somethings that you enjoy doing.
Prioritize mental health
One of the most important things for your overall health is to focus on your emotional and mental wellbeing. There are multiple ways in which you can strengthen your mental health by investing more time with your loved ones and your hobbies, as well as trying new things, like visiting your local senior center.
Another thing you can do is get a pet. Pets are great ways to relieve stress and let your fun side out. Different pets have different strengths, whether it be cats, dogs or fish. For example, dogs are great companions to help you deal with a crisis. Cats are great companions for those who are looking for a pet that is low maintenance. Make sure to do your research so that you know what kind of pet is best for you, as well as manageable. Analyze the pros and cons of each type of pet and see how you it would mesh into your family. One way you can do this is ease into it by fostering shelter animals for a few days at a time. This helps you understand what your strengths and weaknesses as a pet owner are, and what pet is best for you.
It’s also necessary to talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling and, if applicable, talk to a professional. Always prioritize your mental health so that in most situations you’re in, you’re still feeling your best.
Everyone needs to be healthy, regardless of age. There are a lot of hobbies, foods and exercises that are out there. Do what you can to be healthy and at the top of your game. Visit The Best Senior Services (TBSS) for more information about ways you can be at your best during your retirement years. TBSS specializes in education seniors about Medicare and other financial services so that you can spend less time worrying about retirement and more time enjoying it. You can get started by visiting our website or calling us at 855-979-8277 today.