Staying healthy and active is important at any age. But, as you get older, it becomes even more vital to take care of yourself and practice preventative health measures. Seniors are at a greater risk of developing both physical and mental health issues that could be prevented or reduced greatly by simple self-care.
Unfortunately, some seniors aren’t able to be as active as they may want to be, due to mobility issues. Others might not have the resources to live a completely healthy lifestyle.
But, it’s easier than you think to stay active and take care of yourself, even as you age. It’s simply a matter of understanding the importance of good health. When you realize how much taking care of yourself can benefit you, it can motivate you to find different ways of staying in control of your health.
Let’s take a look at why staying healthy is important as you age, and go over a few ways to take charge of your overall wellbeing.
Why Staying Active is Important
There are so many benefits to staying fit and healthy. We already touched on how it can lower your risk of certain health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
Staying physically active and eating right can also help you to improve your overall strength and mobility. Low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, and yoga can help you to stay in shape without causing damage to your joints. They can also help with some of the symptoms that occur with varicose veins.
By exercising and eating right, you can also improve your mental health as well as your mood, as seniors can often be at risk for things like depression or anxiety. Thankfully, studies have shown that staying active (especially outdoors) can boost your mood and give you more energy. That’s something everyone benefits from, not just seniors. But, it certainly doesn’t hurt to feel better as you age! With the right diet and exercise plan, you might end up feeling stronger in your golden years than you ever have before!
What You Can Do to Live a Healthy Life As You Age
There are many things you can do to stay healthy in your senior years, and perhaps the easy way to get started is simply to move. You can get technical about your fitness, if you’d like. Methods like biohacking are used to determine a specific health regimen that could be right for you. But, if you’re ready to make positive changes in your life right away, something as simple as a walk around the block is a start.
Seniors who don’t have any mobility issues should aim to get at least 30 minutes of light activity each day. While supporting your cardiovascular health is important, don’t ignore strength training. Many people experience bone and muscle loss as they age, which can affect your mobility and your gait. Safe strength training for seniors can include:
When it comes to your diet, you should be making healthy choices that fuel your body. That’s especially true if you’re exercising more often. While you don’t necessarily need to restrict yourself from any one specific food, a good rule of thumb is to eat as many “whole” foods as possible. Stay away from processed, pre-packaged foods that are high in sodium and trans fats, as they can contribute to heart conditions and high blood pressure. Convenience foods can be easy for seniors to make or purchase, but they are often laden with preservatives that can have a negative impact on your health. If you aren’t able to cook for yourself, do your research on the best convenience foods that are more nutritionally sound.
When you eat the right foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins, you’ll find that you have more energy to keep your body active each day.
Relying On Your Support System
One of the biggest issues facing seniors in this country is loneliness and isolation. That has become an even greater issue in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest benefits of exercising and choosing a healthier lifestyle is the social and communal aspect, where things like yoga classes can help you to meet new people or spend time with friends. Taking a healthy cooking class can provide the same opportunities.
In addition to meeting new people, you can also rely on your family and friends for support of your physical and mental health. They can keep you motivated and even exercise with you or provide you with healthy meals or recipes.
Choosing to stay physically healthy in your older years also has mental/emotional health benefits. Not only can it improve your social life, but you can meet new people with similar interests and desires to manage their own health. From simply walking around the park to changing your diet, it’s never too late to take control over your health and make the most of your strong and vibrant golden years.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.