What Happens To Us When We Get Older?
Even at younger ages, not exercising regularly and eating improperly can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attacks, as well as an overall lower health-related quality of life.
So, in order to appreciate the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle as older adults, it is vital to understand what changes occur in your body as you age. As long as you’re aware of these changes, they shouldn’t take you by surprise.
But regardless of what happens, it’s still possible to live a healthy and fulfilling life by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This post will explain how.
1. Healthy Eating Is Essential
It’s more important than ever to have healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, as people age, their metabolism slows down. The sense of taste and smell can weaken, resulting in a lower appetite.
Grocery shopping and preparing food might become more difficult for you. Your options here could be to seek help from a family member or ask your health provider for advice.
If all else fails, senior living communities can prepare delicious and healthy meals, saving you the time and hassle of preparing adequate meals every day.
A healthy diet for seniors should be full of lean protein (meat), fruits, fiber, whole grains, and vegetables. These foods will allow you to maintain your energy and digest food easier.
Remember to also drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. Water serves multiple purposes for good health – including keeping your energy up and your skin looking smooth and youthful. It’s also important to make your food look and taste yummy to stimulate your appetite.
It’s a good idea to eat meals together with your family or friends. That way, you’ll feel more obligated to eat, and you get to spend time with your favorite people.
An extra benefit of eating a healthy diet is that you’ll more easily achieve a healthy weight, which will help prevent certain diseases like diabetes and arthritis.
Smoking is also something that should be avoided. This bad habit can predispose you to bronchitis, osteoporosis, heart disease, and lung cancer.
A lesser-known fact is that the chemicals in cigarettes will damage your skin, making you appear older than you really are.
2. Try To Find Ways To Stay Active
A study from Sweden discovered that exercise is one of the most significant contributors to living a longer life. It adds extra years to your life. Even if you haven’t exercised before, it’s still not too late to start. According to geriatrician Dr. Camel Dyer, her patients over 70 that started exercising still reap great benefits.
Some great benefits of exercise include:
- Strengthens your immune system
- It makes you more flexible, improves posture and balance
- It gives you a better quality of sleep
- Building muscle mass as a result of weight training improves metabolism
- Produces feel-good hormones (aka endorphins)
- Reduces chronic pain
- Staving off dementia (memory loss)
What exercise is most common among older adults? Yoga is trendy, and for a good reason. It can relieve discomfort from conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Our muscles can get stiff and shorter when we don’t exercise, and doing yoga can help remedy that. Just five minutes a day of stretching can make all the difference.
However, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. You can start small and build up as you go. Make sure it’s something you enjoy so that you stay motivated and consistent with your exercise routine. More fun activities might include swimming, cycling, gardening, golfing, or just walking your dog.
For even more motivation, exercise with a family member or friend so that you can keep each other motivated. Motivation to exercise is another great benefit of joining senior living communities. They have exercise classes where you can exercise with your fellow residents.
3. Try To Maintain a Positive Attitude
It isn’t easy getting older. At times, it can be incredibly hard. We lose loved ones, our health deteriorates, and we gradually (or sometimes suddenly) lose our independence.
But no matter what we face, we must stand firm throughout it all. Here are some tips to help you do that:
- Accept the changes that have occurred in your life (even if it’s difficult). Accepting and letting go will help reduce your stress levels.
- Remember the things that you are grateful for (such as family and friends).
- Don’t hide or bury your emotions. Feeling grief after a loss is normal and healthy. To help you work through it, you can talk to a family member, friend, or professional. Even writing in a journal can help you deal with grief. Putting what happened into words is a way of acknowledging the reality and coming to terms with it.
4. Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Sleep problems are widespread among older adults. Waking up several times throughout the night, feeling sleepy during the daytime, and insomnia can strike everyone.
The reality is that poor sleep quality is also caused by bad sleeping habits. Here are some tips to address that:
- Do regular exercise: it’s best to work it in a few hours before you sleep for better sleep results.
- Make your space conducive to sleep: a comfortable mattress is worth its weight in gold. Also, be sure that your room is kept cool, dark, and quiet.
- Refine your bedtime rituals: these can be different for everyone. Whatever relaxes you is what you should incorporate here.
- Limit artificial light: the reason for this one is that artificial light reduces melatonin production, which is the hormone responsible for sleepiness. A good practice is to turn off the computer and TV at least 1 hour before sleeping.
5. Give Your Brain a Workout Too
Make sure that your brain stays active too. Keeping your creative side busy is the key, especially since you’re retired and no longer challenged by your career. Ways to keep your brain healthy include crossword puzzles, learning new skills, word games, and learning a new language.