Parents await patiently for a baby’s first step and teenage boys brim with excitement and pride at the first signs of facial hair. In fact, there are many physical changes that we experience throughout our life. As we age, however, the changes are not always as welcome.
Stiff mornings and sore knees can be discouraging in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. But staying active is important at any age. And as you grow older, physical activity becomes even more critical to maintaining your independence and even keeping a healthy mind. When done right, a healthy lifestyle can reinvigorate all facets of your life.
The Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that “older adults who had high or medium levels of engagement that increased over time developed cognitive and physical limitations more slowly than did those with low levels of engagement that decreased over time.”
No one wants to feel limited by health. To keep this from happening, find healthy outlets that fit your own unique interests so that you will be excited about keeping up with your routines. Nowadays there are limitless opportunities for individuals of all abilities and interests. Below, we will explore a few of the ways to stay active, healthy, and happy and some senior resources for further reading.
When it comes to keeping up with your physical health, you want to make sure that you are covering all of the bases. At times, health requirements can seem to go on and on, so we want to make sure that the most important ones aren’t overlooked. Everyone should be sure to:
- Keep up with medical requirements. Visit the dentist every six months, get screened regularly for vision and medical abnormalities, and monitor medications and the effects they are having on your health on a regular basis.
- Stay physically active. Whether you are running half marathons or are more restricted in your movement, it’s important to maintain a routine for staying physically active to keep your bones and muscles healthy.
- Stimulate your brain. Support your mental health by doing puzzles, reading, writing, and even finding electronic apps or games that you enjoy.
- Eat nutritiously. A healthy, balanced diet will keep your body nourished and able to function at peak performance.
- Get your rest! Be sure to take time to relax, destress, and get the physician-recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
- Stay social. Finding ways to participate in family occasions and to stay active in the community can be incredibly important to warding off feelings of isolation that can ultimately lead to loneliness and depression.
There are a great selection of fitness organizations for older adults. Here are some links to company’s websites created specifically for individuals needing guidance for keeping a safe and organized physical routine.
National Institutes of Health: Senior Health. This provides you with benefits of exercise and the safest ways to do it.
Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging. Here is a guide for safe and simple exercises you can do at home.
Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science: Aging and Exercise. This site teaches you how aging affects the way you work out.
Vitality. We have to say a little something about ourselves! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get the latest senior living and health tips from our Successful Aging Resources.
You Are What You Eat
Eating a nutritious diet is not always easy, no matter what age you are. We all have our own temptations that we find irresistible (for me, it’s chocolate!). But eating a well-balanced diet can help with everything from energy to brain and eye health to muscle development. Here are some resources for nutrition that are specifically geared toward individuals aged 55 and up.
Nutrition.gov. There is a section of this website, which is curated by a government organization for health and wellness, with eating tips and guides just for seniors.
Eat Right. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also has a section of its website with tips, meal guides, and other great resources for seniors.
EatWellBeWell.org. This non-profit group has put together a comprehensive guide with important information about healthy food for older adults, as well as some handy checklists and charts.
Other Ways to Stay Healthy and Engaged
As it becomes more difficult to go out and about, it’s not always easy to find ways to be social or mentally stimulated. However, it does not have to be as complicated as it might seem. There are a lot of simple ways to stay involved and feel a sense of invigoration on a daily basis. Here are a few ways to do just that:
- Call up your friends. Invite your friends to get your hair done together, go see a movie, play cards, or go for a stroll in the park.
- Take a class. Do something challenging for your brain and take a class at the local community college. There are often many available classes for free or for a very reasonable price.
- Volunteer. This can be done in many different ways. You can even volunteer from your own house via the internet or your phone. Giving back is one of the best ways to add another level of meaning to your life.
Some other digital resources for keeping a healthy and active mind are:
Fit Brains. This blog is a mecca of tips on how to maintain a healthy brain, no matter what your age is.
Masters of Healthcare. This website has a bunch of games that help keep your brain entertained and healthy. They can be played online or offline and provide you with that little extra challenge you need to stay fully engaged and keep your mind expanding.
Online Brain Games. This is another website with games specifically created to keep your brain active and healthy. It also has a blog that offers advice on mental health as you age.
These resources give you a great guide for maintaining your fitness, nutrition, and mental-health practices. All of these things are important for everyone in order to keep happiness and health as long as possible. Ultimately, the way we find meaning in our lives is up to us and our commitment to ourselves. Making health a priority is the real key to letting the joys of life continue to flourish.