As you age, your body and mind changes, and so does what you need to stay healthy. Regular physicals, dental check-ups, medications, eye exams – the list of a senior’s health needs goes on.
It can certainly feel overwhelming at times, but the older we get, the more important it is that we are diligent in making sure we stay on top of our overall health and that we’re vigilant in being as active as possible.
Making your health, both mentally and physically, a top priority is key to living the happiest and longest life possible.
This special report, dedicated to seniors, reveals some of the ways you can get started quickly and easily. If you want to become as healthy as possible while looking and feeling your very best, this is the information you’ve been looking for.
So without further delay, let’s begin!
1: Healthy Weight
It all begins with developing healthy habits that will increase longevity and help you feel and look as good as you possibly can.
One thing to keep in mind is your overall weight. Seniors often struggle with being underweight which is typically a result of not eating enough nutrient-dense foods. If this is the case, you’ll want to re-evaluate your diet and create a plan that includes the important nutrients that may be currently missing.
On the other hand, obviously being overweight is equally as unhealthy. If you struggle with keeping your weight down, consider talking to a dietitian that specializes in creating well-balanced meal plans for seniors.
What is a healthy weight for you?
There are two standard measures used when determining a healthy weight. This includes:
• Determining your BMI (Body mass index). This takes into account your weight and height. A BMI score of 18.5-24.9 is typically indicative of a healthy diet and is ideal for seniors.
• Measuring your waist and hips. This will give you a good idea as to whether you’re carrying a lot of extra weight.
A circumference of more than 35 inches in women or 40 inches in men can mean that you’re a higher risk of health problems including diabetes so you want to keep an eye on this.
2 Stay Positive
Your mind is a powerful thing and staying positive and hopeful, despite the obstacles you’ll face, will help you not only learn to cope with the changes in your life, but it will reduce stress and anxiety which will lead to a longer lifespan.
Here are a few ways to get started:
Be Grateful: Consider keeping a gratitude journal that documents your day-to-day life, paying attention to the blessings in your life and its many joys.
It’s easy to take things for granted, so by taking steps to faithfully acknowledge the good times will help you cope when times get tough. Look for the silver lining in problem areas and remember that every lesson in life helps you grow!
Express Your Feelings: Don’t bottle up your emotions. It’s normal to feel nervous or worried about the future, but burying your feelings can lead to bitterness, anger and anxiety.
By being open and honest with those in your life that you trust the most, you’ll be better equipped to process those emotions in a healthy way.
Let It Go: There’s no point in stressing about the things you can’t change, right? Instead, identify the areas in your life that are beyond your control and learn to let them go.
I know, easier said than done, but if you put an honest effort into trying to let go, you’ll not only minimize your stress levels but you’ll free up time to improve the areas of your life that are in your control.
3: Get Active
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should transition into a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, it’s quite the opposite because the key to longevity is to become active as possible!
No matter how old you are, you will benefit from regular exercise. Not only will it help you stay mobile and flexible, but it can help you effectively manage health problems, boost your immune system and vitality, improve your range of motion and help with mental health.
Here are a few tips:
Check with your family doctor prior to starting any exercise program or workout routine.
Make sure that there are no health conditions that may impede your ability to exercise. Discuss options with your doctor including how long or how often you should exercise as well as the different types of exercises that are safe based on your medical history.
Start walking! It’s a great way to stay fit while not requiring any expensive equipment.
Plus, you can start slow and increase your speed and distance as your body adjusts. And if you’re concerned about being out on your own, check with your local community about senior-walks or meet-ups.
Don’t Over-Do It: Start off slow, regardless of what exercise you are participating in. Don’t over-exert yourself.
Vary Your Physical Activity: Improve your endurance, strength, flexibility and balance by varying your exercise. Consider light aerobic activities, gardening, walking, water aerobics or yoga sessions designed for seniors.
Tip: Consider purchasing a Fitbit or other fitness tracker that keeps track of your steps, distance, calories burned and more. It’s a great way to keep an eye on how much you are doing while also staying motivated.
4: Eat Well
Your relationship and history with food is directly linked with how healthy you’ll be as you age.
If you’ve struggled to keep the weight off during your younger years, you’ll want to consider a diet that will help you finally shed those extra pounds while also ensuring you get enough iron, vitamins and other nutrients in your diet.
Consider speaking with a dietician who specializes in creating a safe and effective diet plan for seniors.
Here are a few other tips to help you get started:
Eliminate Sugary Foods & Refined Carbs: Instead, make sure you’re filling your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables and lower-carb options like whole grains.
Avoid Processed Foods: As you age, you’ll notice a change in the way your body processes and digests food and at the top of the list for things to watch out for is processed foods. Not only are they harder to digest but they can wreak long-term havoc on your system.
Reduce Fat: Things like butter, oils and shortening should be minimized and replaced with healthy fats like avocado or olive oil.
Control Portion Sizes: Many people eat far more than they should so by focusing on portion sizes you’ll be sure to stay within a healthy range.
Hydrate! Make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day. If you struggle to drink it, consider adding lime or lemon to your glass for added flavor.
Remember, adults over 50 have different dietary needs than the younger generation, so it’s important that you try to create healthier eating habits.
Bonus Tip: Plan Ahead! Preparing your meals in advance takes the guesswork out of what you’ll eat for each day while making it easier to stay on track. Consider cooking in advance and freezing portions for days when you simply don’t feel like cooking.
5: Train Your Brain
If you want to live your healthiest life, it’s important that you keep your brain just as healthy as your body.
Focusing on creative processes will keep your mind sharp and help prevent cognitive decline as well as memory loss.
Here are a few ways to get started:
Complete Puzzles & Crosswords: Puzzles and crosswords are fantastic ways to train your brain while using logic and memory to put it all together. It’s also an affordable hobby and one that you can do at home. Same applies to Sudoku or other logic-based games and applications.
Learn New Skills: Whether it’s a cooking class, gardening or playing a new instrument, learning a new skill will help improve memory as well as hand-eye coordination.
Concentrate: Spend some time each day learning to filter distractions so you can focus on one main task. Spending just a few minutes a day of interrupted concentration has proven to keep your mind sharp.
Exercising the memory is important so be sure to include simple challenges such as memorizing grocery lists or to-do lists.
6: Get Enough Sleep
Older adults will notice a change in not only their sleep cycle but the quality of their sleep. This is caused by a variety of things beyond just aging, including your overall diet, hormone changes and lifestyle as well as your caffeine and alcohol intake.
As a senior, it’s critical that you get enough sleep. In fact, most seniors need 7-8 hours of sound sleep each night to feel rejuvenated and rested.
If you suffer from insomnia or simply have trouble sleeping soundly, consider the following:
Set a bedtime and stick to it: Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
Cut out naps: If you’re tired throughout the day, you could take a cat nap, but try to limit the time you spend sleeping throughout the day.
Avoid coffee or alcohol 2-3 hours before bed: Both of these things make it difficult to rest so try to eliminate them a few hours before your set bed time.
Speak with your doctor: Discuss any medications that could possibly make it difficult to sleep. Medications like antidepressants or cardiovascular-based drugs are often linked to insomnia.
Note: As we age, advanced sleep phase syndrome sets in which causes the body’s internal clock to adjust to earlier sleep and wake times. However, because a lot of older adults fail to adjust their routines accordingly, they end up staying up too late and not getting the sleep they need.
We’ve already discussed the importance of learning to get go of the things you can’t change. In addition, working towards including time in your day to relax and recharge is vital in maintaining a healthy mind and body.
Listen to music, sit a quiet space or spend some leisurely time outdoors are all great ways to release stress and tension, while giving your mind and body time to rejuvenate.
In addition, as we get older we are far more susceptible to mental illnesses such as depression. This is yet another reason it’s so important to be even more vigilant in learning to de-stress, reset and recharge while paying close attention to our emotions so we can properly manage them.
8: Focus on Prevention
It’s important that you visit your doctor regularly and don’t skip appointments. In addition, you’ll want to consider screenings for cholesterol levels, colon cancer, heart problems, breast cancer and ensure you are receiving important vaccinations that can help prevent influenza, pneumonia and other illnesses.
Another important step is staying on top of medical management. Review any medications on you’re on with your physical regularly, and report any symptoms or side-effects you may be feeling.
Don’t put this off! If a medication is making you feel ill, there is likely a suitable replacement available.
You’ll also want to be regularly screened for changes in your vision. In fact, you should have your prescription checked every year. Ensuring you have corrective lenses, if needed, will help reduce headaches and migraines while reducing your risk of falling.
9: The Skin You’re In
As we age, our skin becomes thinner, loses elasticity and becomes more fragile. The same applies to our bones that lose density and even shrink in size.
So it’s important to create a daily regimen that helps to replenish your skin.
Here are a few tips:
Use a Humidifier: This can help to eliminate problems such as cracking, dryness and chapping especially in winter.
Use Sunscreen: Protect your skin from dangerous rays by using sunscreen whenever you are outside, even for shorter periods of time.
Use a Daily Moisturizer: Use a good skin cream that contains important vitamins such as Vitamin A, E and aloe. In addition, avoid using harsh soaps and instead, opt for fragrance-free alternatives.
Not only will all of this help to improve the look and feel of your skin, but by paying attention to the condition on your skin on a daily basis, you’ll be able to detect any signs of discoloration or other signs of possible skin cancer so you can seek medical treatment early on.