This week’s blog has been written by a guest blogger, Karen Weeks of ElderWellness.net and although it’s primarily aimed at an older age-group, a lot of the tips and advice are helpful, whatever your age, and you’ll find that some of them are very relevant, even if you’re in your twenties.
Have you been taking care of yourself as you have grown older? Many older adults gradually stop their usual exercise routines, social interactions and daily cooking, opting for less expensive, more sedentary options. However, it is important all of us, whatever our age, to continue keeping our bodies in tiptop shape. Not only will remaining mentally and physically active help protect you from falls and other dangers, they will help you feel more alert and invigorated each day. From exercises to puzzles to weekly gatherings, here are some ways you can age in the healthiest manner possible.
Eat healthy meals
If you aren’t eating a set of healthy meals each day, you may be doing yourself a disservice. The nutrients provided by regular nutritious meals help keep your bones and muscles strong. Certain foods such as dark-coloured vegetables and leafy greens help increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, enhancing both your reaction times and mental alertness. Also, a healthy meal can help provide you with the energy you need to get through the day. Thanks to recent technology, you don’t have to worry about going to the grocery store and laboriously preparing a meal every time you get hungry. If you enjoy going to the grocery store but often get sidetracked by processed foods, smartphone apps can help you create meal plans or grocery lists and then stick to them when it is time to fill your shopping cart.
Depending on where you live, you can even have your groceries prepared and loaded into your car for you without requiring you to even remove your seat belt. You can even sign up for a meal delivery service, which delivers groceries, complete with nutritious, tasty recipes and cooking instructions, directly to your door. Finally, if you don’t feel like cooking at all, you can try out one of the many services that deliver a fully prepared meal to you at a predetermined time.
Engage in your community through exercise and hobbies
One of the easiest ways to keep your body strong is to exercise regularly. If you’re like many seniors, you may believe that most exercises are too strenuous and can lead to injury. While it is true that you should be careful in what exercises you choose to try, there are many different fun options that can get your heart rate up without causing pain. Possibly the simplest workout routine is going on a brisk walk for half an hour. Not only will that help you get your blood pumping, it will also give you an opportunity to explore your town.
If you enjoy the community aspect of working out, many gyms, recreation centers, and senior centers offer classes specifically tailored for seniors. Depending on your location’s offerings, you can take part in such varied classes as water aerobics, gentle yoga, and more. These classes can also provide the critical social component, which is often lost as people get older. It is, however, very important to maintain a social life. A sense of community and belonging is a core part of your overall mental health, so you should try to spend time with your friends whenever you can.
If you don’t enjoy group classes, there are many other ways you can engage in your community – try joining a book club or something else designed around your hobbies. Your local community centre will have many different options for you to choose from.
Keep your mind stimulated
Finally, it’s also necessary for you to keep your mind healthy and stimulated. Even if you no longer work, your mind requires engagement in order for you to remain sharp and alert. Research shows that seniors who read or do puzzles are less at a risk of developing dementia and other memory-related issues. You can find plenty of puzzles or books online to suit your tastes, or you can always get them out of your favourite magazine.
Remember, getting older doesn’t mean you have to become sedentary. Embrace your golden years by becoming even more physically fit and mentally active.