UPDATED: March 11, 2020 – The goal of every senior is to stay as healthy, fit, and active as possible, for as long as possible. These ten tips are perfect ways to promote wellness into your golden years.
1. Get moving
Many older Americans simply stop moving as much as they age. Park further away from the store, take the stairs if possible, and even stand to do everyday tasks to engage your core and improve circulation, both important parts to avoiding falls in your older years.
2. Fitness Tracking & Pedometers
For many, the key to staying fit and active, has been wearing a pedometer. Set goals & chart your steps to turn fitness into a fun game.
3. Join a fitness class
Senior centers across the country are offering yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and other low-impact fitness classes. These methods are designed to improve posture and strengthen the body without damage to the joints.
4. Don’t stop lifting weights
Strength training not only prevents bone loss, but also may even stimulate new bone growth. It also helps with balance and coordination, key elements in avoiding falls.
5. Find a younger friend
A recent Australian study found that post-menopausal women who spend one day a week caring for their grandchildren have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
While the reasons for the correlation are still under investigation, spending time with young people makes you feel young and vibrant.
6. Stay hydrated
Waiting to drink until you are thirsty means your body is already dehydrated. Proper hydration keeps your body from overheating, helps with fatigue and light-headedness, and ensures your vital organs keep functioning through physical activity.
Just remember, not all beverages are created equal. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages actually dehydrate the body rather than replacing its fluids.
7. Keep doing things you enjoy doing
Sometimes we think just because we are older we can’t continue to do the things we once loved. If you enjoy cycling, keep cycling. If you enjoy running, keep running.
Your activities may need modification in order to keep doing them. For example, only cycling during the day to improve your visual acuity, or running shorter distances to avoid injury.
There is nothing that says you have to stop doing the physical activities you have always loved.
8. Look for ways to help & volunteer in your community
Community service opportunities are ideal ways to stay fit and active. Reading with children at elementary schools, working in community gardens, or teaching people how to work on bikes in local cooperatives. These activities all encourage lifting, bending, walking, and standing.
9. Eat better
Many seniors experience a loss of appetite as they age, so it becomes even more important to ensure you are getting the maximum possible nutrients in every bite.
Eating more colorful fruits and vegetables, cutting back on sugars, sodium, and saturated fats can have a profound impact on your overall health.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy what you eat, just be sure you are getting high quality fuel first.
This often overlooked health benefit becomes even more important as we age. Not only does meditation create awareness of your own physical body. A recent UCLA study showed that practicing mindfulness can actually decrease loneliness in seniors.
Simply teaching the mind to be aware of the present allows many seniors to feel connected to the world around them. Thereby creating a sense of community with the world at large.
Whether you have always been active or are just getting started, it is important to discuss any exercise regimen with your doctor before beginning. But remember, it is never too late to start getting fit and active.