Bodies change throughout our lives and seem to change more dramatically in our senior years. As we begin to get older, we may find ourselves slowing down in many ways. That is why it is important to take our health seriously and continue working hard to maintain it. Seniors in good health have lower risk of illness and injury, which is important because age can make it more difficult for our bodies to heal. Good physical health is also tied to better emotional and mental health, allowing us to feel happier and more fulfilled in our lives. This senior guide to staying healthy as you age can help you begin living a healthier, longer, and more enjoyable life.
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
We tend to slow down as we age, meaning that we may need fewer calories than before to stay full and energetic. However, it is important to continue eating nutrient-dense foods to ensure that our bodies have everything they need to stay strong. Try to avoid processed foods or foods rich in fat. Instead, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables with smaller amounts of meat and grains. This diet will help you maintain your health while still feeling full. Bananas, carrot sticks, and a handful of nuts are a few options for snacks between meals if you need them.
Control Portion Sizes
People often eat more than they need to feel full, especially when eating out or cooking large meals. Eating the right portions is an easy way to ensure that you are staying healthy, so take the time to learn about serving sizes for your favorite foods and compare that to your usual portions. You may find that you are eating a little too much. We tend to eat more when we are distracted, too, so avoid eating in front of the TV or while doing other tasks. Instead, focus on your meal. This can help you pay better attention to how much you eat and how full you feel. Mindful, slow eating has been shown to help in curbing appetites and promoting better portion control.
Make Mealtime Easier
Mealtimes can be tough to look forward to, especially if you dread cooking. This can often lead to unhealthy choices, such as picking up fast food or munching on chips and other snacks. Make mealtime a little easier by cooking and freezing large batches of food that you can reheat when you are not up to spending time in the kitchen. You may also want to stock your pantry with fast-cooking staples, like canned veggies, whole wheat pasta, and other items that do not take too much time or energy to cook. Frozen vegetables are also an excellent option.Finally, try to have meals with friends and family as often as possible, which can motivate you to make a healthy meal. It will also bring some joy back to eating.
Exercising for an hour and a half each week can strengthen your body, improve your balance, and give you more energy, among other benefits. Regular exercise is essential at any age. Though, as we get older, it can become more difficult to exercise. Start slowly with just 10 minutes of exercise each day, and choose activities that you enjoy. A short walk around the block is more than enough to help you establish a routine and sticking to it. See if there are any classes designed for seniors in your area, and enlist a friend to exercise with you and keep you accountable.
Vary Your Exercise
Once you develop a regular exercise routine, vary your exercise with different styles throughout the week. Balance, strength, and flexibility are all important, so find an enjoyable activity that focuses on each area. You may want to consider yoga, water aerobics, walking, and stretch classes, many of which can be modified or specifically tailored to seniors. By mixing up your exercises, you will improve your mobility, allowing you to enjoy other hobbies and activities longer. Your body will be able to recover more quickly from illness and injury.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is always important, and particularly so as we age. Getting enough sleep can improve your mood and energy levels throughout the day, helping you get more done without feeling tired. It also gives your body plenty of time to repair itself and recover, so be sure to get to bed early if you feel a cold coming on.
Stay in Touch
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Keeping in touch with family and friends can be a great way to combat loneliness and stay connected with your community, helping you feel better each day. If family and friends are far away, consider joining a club, class, or other group to meet people who have similar interests, which gives you some common ground on which to build new relationships.
Make Time for Hobbies
Taking time for yourself can be an excellent way to rest and decrease your stress levels. Hobbies like reading and doing crossword puzzles and other puzzles have the added benefit of keeping your mind and memory sharp. Inviting a friend or family member to enjoy a hobby with you can also help you remain social and strengthen your relationships. No matter how you choose to spend your time, saving some of it for the things that bring you happiness is an important way to improve your mental health and mood.
More about Healthy Aging
Contact Comfort Home Care for more information about healthy aging and senior living options. The agency provides in-home care that can help you stay healthy as you age. Services include support with activities of daily living (such as dressing and bathing), transportation to doctor’s appointments, support with taking medication, and more. Comfort Home Care’s trained care aide and nurses can develop a customized care plan designed to meet your needs and help you stay healthy long into your old age.