Aging is a natural phenomenon that everybody needs to go through. Sooner or later, your skin will start to wrinkle, and your hair’s color will turn grey. There are also physical and mental changes that will happen, such as memory problems, frailty, and cognitive decline.
However, not everything that comes with aging is inevitable and beyond your control. Your wrinkles might still be there despite applying several face creams, but you can surely slow down and even prevent some of the physical and mental challenges of growing old.
The key is to shed old, unhealthy, and toxic habits and replace them with new and healthy ones. No matter how small or minor, healthy changes can have a massive positive impact on your life, especially for seniors living alone or in senior living communities.
By regularly sticking with your new and improved routine, you won’t have to dread getting older because now you’ll do it healthily and happily!
To help you get started, here are eight healthy habits that you can start including in your daily routine.
1. Staying Active
There’s a reason why every health blog, healthcare professional, and fitness magazine all recommend seniors to exercise regularly—because it works!
Regular physical activity—especially those that get the muscles moving and heart pumping—keeps your physique and bodily systems healthy. Furthermore, it reduces your risk of developing heart diseases, high blood pressure, and other chronic disorders.
You can engage in any low-impact exercises for just 30 minutes a day, four to five times a week, and you’ll be healthy and better in no time. Some of the best physical activities for seniors include:
- Brisk walking, jogging, and running on a treadmill.
- Cycling or stationary biking.
- Swimming and water aerobics.
Find the right workout for you so you can enjoy every minute of it while slowly building it as a habit.
2. Eating the Right Food
Proper nutrition and exercise always go hand in hand. So after burning your calories and sweating away the toxins, you need to reinforce it with a proper diet. You don’t have to follow a specific diet plan like the Mediterranean or Paleo diet. You only have to eat the right kind and amount of foods that your body needs. This includes:
- Lean meat like skinless chicken, red meat, and fatless pork chops are good sources of protein.
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, and cabbage.
- Fruits high in fiber like banana, apple, orange, and strawberries.
- Include whole grains and low-fat dairy products into your meals.
If you don’t have the ability or time to cook nutritious meals, then you can get help from your family members, caregiver, or nutritionist in senior living communities.
3. Prioritizing Healthcare
Another vital habit that you should get used to is regularly attending your doctor’s appointments and prioritizing healthcare. Undergoing regular check-ups with your GP can help enrich your health through early prevention practices like vaccination, routine blood work, and screening for age-related diseases.
Going to the doctor can also help them diagnose any chronic diseases early on, allowing you both to come up with a treatment plan even before the condition gets worse.
4. Prioritizing Good Hygiene
Now more than ever, it’s essential to practice good personal hygiene to maintain your health and decrease your chances of getting infected with diseases. Some of the best practices you can implement in your life include:
- Washing your hands after you go out, use the restroom, and before and after eating.
- Taking a shower daily.
- Trimming your nails, cutting your hair to an appropriate length, and brushing your teeth 3x a day.
- Keeping your living space clean and well-organized to prevent dust from settling and pests from nesting.
Seniors who have physical limitations and health conditions can seek the help of caregivers and family members to help them maintain good hygiene.
5. Getting the Right Amount of Rest
Now that you’re getting older, you should leave behind the habit of staying up until the wee hours of the night to binge-watch a series on Netflix. Seniors such as yourself need to have at least eight to nine hours of sleep daily to keep their body and mind healthy.
Moreover, you need to fulfill that amount of rest because it’s the only time your body gets to repair damaged cells, replenish your energy, and let the healthy hormones flood the brain and body.
6. Staying Socially Connected
Besides your physical health, you should also start building healthy habits to take care of your social and emotional well-being. Furthermore, by connecting with people, you indirectly enrich your life by reducing stress and promoting social growth. Some of the ways to stay socially connected include:
- Hanging out with your neighbors and fellow residents in senior living communities.
- Spending quality time with your family members.
- Regularly calling or talking to loved ones and friends.
- Engaging in social activities like joining a book club, a fitness group, or volunteering.
7. Managing Stress
Stress is almost always the major culprit in triggering a mental illness, emotional dilemma, and even other chronic disorders. Managing stress can significantly improve your health and overall outlook in life.
It’s impossible to avoid stress entirely, but the key here is to learn how to manage or cope with it. You can start by identifying your stressors in life. What are the things that stress you out or make you anxious?
Next, you need to practice techniques that can help you reduce stress and calm down immediately, such as breathing exercises. Also, you need to take it easy in life and schedule some “me time” every week.
8. Exercising the Mind
Your brain also needs regular exercising as much as your bones and muscles. They need the stimulation to remain sharp and function seamlessly. Some of the best ways to exercise the mind include:
- Playing memory-enhancing games like jigsaw puzzles, crossword, and word games.
- Reading blogs or your favorite novels.
- Writing in a journal.
- Enrolling in senior-friendly educational classes or skills workshops.
- Participating in fun and exciting activities provided by senior living communities.
Doing these mentally stimulating activities can help your brain retain its cognitive functions and abilities.