We all want to be healthy and happy as we age, but there is so much information out there on diet and exercise. How do you know what is good advice? How do you know what is appropriate for your age and physical condition?
Take a look at these top 10 health tips meant specifically for senior citizens.
Move every day
This one can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. Moving every day simply means get out of your chair and take a walk, go walk the dog in the park, or just walk to a neighbor’s house to visit.
You can choose to play golf or take a water aerobics class to stay active, but it’s not necessary if you prefer simpler activities like walking, biking, or dancing. Whatever you do, just move more and sit less (so say the experts at CDC.gov).
Maintain a healthy weight
Not only will this make exercising easier, but it may also help prevent or curb any chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
As we age it becomes more difficult to get the pounds off so try and stay at your target weight if possible (a quick Internet search will uncover a host of BMI charts to consult on what your healthiest weight should be). Eat a high-protein, low-fat diet full of lean meats, nonfat dairy, and lots of fruits and veggies.
If you smoke, QUIT
The number one thing that you can do to improve your health at any age is to quit smoking (this includes vaping as well). When you stop smoking you immediately improve your health by decreasing the risk of developing cancer, strokes, and heart failure.
This is especially important as you age. It is quite common for older adults to become dehydrated very quickly if they aren’t paying attention, so always reach for a water bottle before you feel thirsty. Don’t forget that there are many liquids that count if you aren’t a fan of plain water – unsweetened tea or coffee, fruit or vegetable juices, and even coconut or seltzer water counts.
Keep up with regular health screenings
If you are 50 or older, you are probably already familiar with what this refers to: things like annual flu/pneumonia shots, mammograms, prostate checks, and the like.
Not only do these activities keep you healthy, they can also alert you and your doctor early on in case something changes or needs a more watchful eye. Regular health screenings are essential to men, women, and children of all ages, but especially important for those over age 50.
Don’t forget about balance
Aerobic exercise and strength training are important, but don’t neglect simple balance exercises – improved fitness itself will help your balance, and activities such as tai chi, yoga or dance are great for this. Better balance can keep you from falling, which becomes more common as we age.
Also consider investing in a reliable life alert system, which may be especially helpful if you live alone. As we get older we sometimes have falls and mishaps so it’s a good idea to look at the medical alert system review sites to learn more about these devices and how they can help you call for assistance in times of emergency.
Manage your stress
This may be easier said than done, but it’s also good advice for people of all ages. Life is stressful, so be sure to take the time to develop healthy coping skills to combat any life stressors. Things such as regular exercise or mindfulness and relaxation techniques can be very powerful in managing stress and hard times. Avoid unhealthy habits such as drinking, smoking, ranting at the television news, or any other destructive behaviors.
Rely on your social network
Make sure that you have an active network of friends and family to rely on as you get older. This not only helps you mentally, but it is also helpful when you need an extra hand at accomplishing chores, running errands, or providing a meal if you are unable to cook for yourself.
Your social network should also be available for fun and companionship as well…two things that will improve anyone’s physical and mental health.
Make sleep a priority
Again, easier said than done, but sleep and rest are a restorative time for your mind and body. This becomes essential as you get older, so don’t neglect your seven to nine hours. Sleep can help boost your immune system to make it possible to fight off infections and viruses. It can also help improve your memory and concentration as you age.
Wash your hands
This may be the most important tip of all during the current coronavirus pandemic. Washing your hands briskly with soap and water for the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” (about 20 seconds) can go a long way to preventing the spread of disease and keeping you healthy. If soap and water aren’t available, be sure to use an antibacterial hand sanitizer in a pinch.