Growing older is a rite of passage—and a privileged one at that. As you enter your golden years, a top priority should be to protect your health. From watching grandchildren graduate to attending your own 50th high school reunion, there are so many bucket-list moments to look forward to. Here are some tips to keep you moving through life’s biggest milestones!
1. Get Your Body Going
As a senior, keeping your body active is key. The CDC recommends that people over the age of 65 reach for about 150 minutes of exercise per week. But since mobility is relative to the individual, there have to be different strokes for different folks. Before you join that Tai Chi class, chat with your doctor to discover which type of movement is right for you. Even your daily tasks can work to your benefit—like gardening, vacuuming, or doing the dishes. For those who are looking for low-impact cardio, walking is a fantastic way to get your foot in the door. You don’t have to step on the gas right away—start small by parking on the farther side of the parking lot, peruse a farmers’ market, or walk to the local grocery store. If your legs are not as strong as they used to be, you can focus on your upper body with some light arm weights. Another way to stay agile and improve flexibility is to begin your day with stretching and light yoga. If traditional exercise doesn’t float your boat, join a Zumba group and dance it out!
2. Focus on Nutrition
What you put on your plate matters, especially as you age. If you’re just figuring out where to begin, try focusing on your protein, veggie, and carb intake. The general rule of thumb is to include 3 to 5 food groups in each and every meal. Older people often experience decreasing bone density and muscle mass, which is why protein is so important. When possible, stay away from foods with saturated fats, high sodium, and added sugars. (AKA, enjoy those M&Ms in moderation.) Older adults also often struggle with a vitamin D deficiency, which may lead to lowered metabolic function and neuromuscular transmission. Increase your vitamin D levels by taking a supplement or adding tuna, cheese, egg yolks, salmon, and mushroom into your meals!
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to set your bodily functions up for success. Proper hydration lubricates joints, regulates temperature, and helps pump blood to the muscles. Seniors tend to become dehydrated due to lower water content in their bodies and certain medications. Fun fact: the actual feeling of thirst diminishes with age, which is why you should always have H2O on hand. If you’re not a fan of plain ol’ water, pack in some flavor with citrus, mint, or melon.
4. Keep Calm & Carry On
Don’t sweat the small stuff is way easier said than done. Chronic stress in adults can cause heart disease, heartburn, insomnia, and impact blood pressure levels. This is enough to turn any frown upside down, but it’s especially true for our senior friends. Many older individuals develop other health problems down the road, and increased cortisol levels can often worsen their symptoms. Whether the anxiety is caused by isolation, medical problems, a loss in the family, or monetary issues, it’s essential to reach out for support. Kick stress to the curb with regular therapy sessions, support groups, dinner with pals, or fun physical activities.
5. Boost Your Brain Health
Cognitive decline is natural as one ages, but it’s not completely unavoidable. Stay sharp by tackling a few Sudoku puzzles, completing daily crosswords, and playing Mahjong with your neighbors. These activities are not only entertaining, but they may help reduce the risk of memory loss and dementia. Regularly reading, improving your sleep schedule, and maintaining a routine can also keep those wheels turning long-term.
6. Stay Connected
Being social is definitely crucial at any stage of life, but seniors could do well with a little more TLC. Older individuals are often empty nesters or live alone in assisted living, which can make them more prone to loneliness. This can also be the case if they’re retired, leaving them without the daily watercooler convos. Studies show that this isolation can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. The fix? Friendship! Keep in touch with your BFFs via regular visits and daily video calls. If you’re looking to find some new friends, there are a few ways to go about it. Join a book group or knitting club, attend a virtual class, or volunteer at the local animal shelter!
7. Try Freshly!
As we get older, our nutritional needs change, but so do our food sensitivities. At Freshly, our varied menu has you covered with new meals every week, so your restrictions never feel like limitations. Simply mark your dietary preferences in your account and you'll see small red warning icons next to meals you should reconsider ordering. We're also cutting back on the time you have to spend in the kitchen wielding sharp knives and moving heavy pots. Just toss our meal in the microwave and get ready to eat! Read more on why Freshly is a preferred meal delivery service for seniors.
The best years have yet to come. So go grab some sunshine, enjoy an amazing meal, and spend time with those who make life all the more special.