Tips for Creating Senior-Friendly Health Habits
- By Joyce Wilson
The start of a new year can be a great time to take stock and consider any changes that you’d like to make to your lifestyle. For seniors, healthy living is the key to maintaining your vitality and warding off health issues. Regardless of your current level of health, making a few small adjustments can have a big impact. Whether it’s exercising more, improving your nutrition, or boosting your overall well-being, read on for fun and simple ways you can create healthy habits that will keep you feeling your best for years to come.
If regular exercise isn’t a part of your routine, it’s important to start gradually and find a type of movement that you enjoy. Resistance training (such as lifting weights, using pulleys, or even your own body weight) is especially important for seniors because it builds muscle and can reduce the risk of injuries from a fall. Exercise that improves balance and coordination (such as Pilates, yoga, or tai chi) is also great for seniors. Consider trying out a variety of activities and choose the type that feels best. Just be sure to include some form of cardio in order to take good care of your heart health.
Getting started is often half the battle, and staying motivated is often the other half. You might be surprised to find a simple motivator in the form of music. In fact, Science Daily reports music can actually help you get more out of your workout. Create a playlist in your phone of your favorite tunes, clear some floorspace, and start moving!
Fine-tune your diet.
There’s no need to start dieting or overhaul your eating habits in order to make a positive difference. Consider making a few small adjustments and see how you feel. For example, try swapping your glass of sugary juice in the morning for a piece of fresh fruit, or trade in your white bread for whole-grain artisan loaves from a local bakery or health food store. Even eating from a smaller plate can help reduce your portion sizes.
As Verywell Health notes, by adding some fresh fruit, veggies, and whole grains to your diet, you’ll be boosting your intake of fiber. This can improve digestion, help with weight loss efforts, and reduce the risk of heart disease or diabetes.
Spending time with the people you love to build a sense of social belonging is a powerful way to improve your health. As you age, you might find that you socialize a bit less or don’t see your family as often, but try to reach out and nurture those relationships as best you can. Research shows that social connection reduces stress, wards off depression, and promotes longevity.
Consider finding activities that you can do with others, such as walking, volunteering, playing games, or starting a book club. While face-to-face interaction is best, online groups or social media communities are a great place to start. If you can combine your socializing with something active, even better. Finding ways to stay active in your community like participating in the NWTRPA Walking Challenge will keep you feeling healthy and young at heart.
Your golden years can bring some of the most rewarding times of your life. Creating long-term healthy habits will ensure you’re able to make the most of it. By making regular exercise a part of your routine, adding a few healthy foods to your diet, and nurturing your relationships, you’re sure to notice lasting improvements to your quality of life.