As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take care of our bodies. We have to be more careful about what we eat, how much exercise we get, and how we manage our stress levels.
However, it is still possible to live a full and healthy life as a senior citizen.
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How Can Seniors Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle?
If you’re a senior, or if you’re caring for a senior, here are a few tips to help you stay healthy and active as you age.
Drink Plenty of Water
It’s no secret that staying hydrated is important for good health, but for seniors, it’s especially crucial. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing water and more susceptible to dehydration. Dehydration can cause a whole host of problems, including dizziness, confusion, kidney problems, and even falls.
One study found that even mild dehydration (a 1-2% drop in body water) can interfere with short-term memory and attention span. Another study found that seniors who were dehydrated were more likely to experience decline in cognitive function over time than those who were well-hydrated. So if you want to keep your mind sharp as you age, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!
Eat Healthy Foods
As people age, it’s important to be conscious of the foods you put into your body. Eating healthy foods helps maintain your independence, vitality, and overall health.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, either. Here are some easy tips:
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Add color to your meals with dark leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, berries, and citrus fruits.
- Make half of the grains you eat whole grains. Look for “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain” on the label when you’re buying bread, cereal, crackers, rice, or pasta.
- Choose lean protein sources such as grilled chicken or fish, tofu, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, and eggs. Limit fatty meats such as prime rib and processed meats such as hot dogs and bacon.
Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Body Strong and Flexible
Regular exercise has many benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases, improving mental health and mood, and helping to maintain a healthy weight. However, finding the time and motivation to exercise can be a challenge, especially for seniors. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fit exercise into your daily routine, even if you don’t have a lot of time or you don’t enjoy going to the gym.
If you’re just starting to exercise, or you’re getting back into it after a long break, it’s important to set realistic goals. Don’t expect to be able to run a marathon if you haven’t been running regularly for years. Start with small goals that you know you can achieve, such as walking around the block or taking a yoga class once a week. As you start to see results, you can gradually increase your goals.
Find an activity that you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding an activity that you enjoy. If you like being outdoors, try hiking or gardening. If you prefer indoor activities, try joining a dance class or swimming laps at the pool. You can even find exercises that are specifically designed for seniors, such as senior-friendly yoga classes or Tai Chi classes. The key is to find something that you look forward to doing so that it doesn’t feel like a chore.
And don’t forget to make it social! One of the best things about exercise is that it can be social! There are plenty of group exercise classes available, or you can ask a friend or family member to join you on your walks or hikes. Exercising with others is a great way to stay motivated and accountable while also getting some quality time with loved ones.
One more benefit of regular exercise? It’s a fantastic method for pain relief!
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
It is recommended that seniors get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This may seem like a lot, but getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining your health. Sleep gives your body time to rest and repair itself, so make sure you are getting enough rest each night.
Establishing a regular sleep schedule can help you get the most out of your sleep each night. Consider taking naps during the day if you need to, but try to avoid sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time so that you don’t disrupt your nighttime sleep schedule.
It is important for seniors to stay up-to-date on their vaccinations and to have regular physicals with their doctor. These check-ups allow your doctor to catch any potential health problems early on and to give you the best possible chance for treatment and recovery. Immunizations can help prevent you from getting sick in the first place, so make sure you are up-to-date on all of your vaccinations.
Consider Taking Supplements as Necessary
As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from food. This means that we may need to take supplements in order to get the nutrients our bodies need. Talk to your doctor about whether or not taking supplements is right for you. Some common supplements seniors take are vitamins D and B12, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Manage Your Stress
There are many sources of stress. For example, many seniors struggle with issues such as debt and this leads to a surge in stress.
Stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels as you age. Consider taking up yoga or meditation, spending time outdoors in nature, or listening to calming music each day. Find what works for you and make sure to take some time each day to relax and de-stress.
Wash Your Hands Often – and Take Other Steps to Prevent Infections
As we get older, our immune systems don’t work as well as they used to. This makes seniors more susceptible to infections, which can sometimes lead to serious health problems. But there are things seniors can do to protect themselves from getting sick.
One of the best ways to prevent infection is to wash your hands often. Use soap and water, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Be sure to clean your hands after you go to the bathroom, before you eat, and after you touch anything that might be contaminated with germs. You should also wash your hands if they come into contact with body fluids like blood or vomit.
Another good way to stay healthy is to get vaccinated against diseases like influenza (the flu) and pneumococcal disease. These vaccines can help protect seniors from serious infections. Seniors should also talk to their doctor about other vaccines they might need, such as the herpes zoster vaccine, which can help prevent shingles.
Finally, when someone in your household is sick, it’s important to try to limit contact with them as much as possible. Have the sick person wear a mask when they’re around other people, and clean surfaces that might be contaminated with germs on a regular basis. You should also avoid sharing items like towels, bedding, dishes, and utensils with someone who is sick. And make sure the sick person gets plenty of rest so they can recover quickly.
Making small changes to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your health as a senior citizen.
By getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep, you can enjoy optimal health every day of your life.