It’s no secret that Senior Citizens have been one of the most significant population groups for some time. Thanks to the post-WWII baby boom, there is now some 74 million seniors living in the US alone. Although Millennials have now surpassed the Boomers, the elderly are living longer than ever before. Advances in medicine and diagnosing illnesses, new science surrounding diet and exercise as well as more focus on elderly care and support means that senior citizens can expect to live longer than ever before. Living longer is one thing but being healthy and happy isn’t a guarantee. The elderly have to put in some work to ensure those years are well spent and thankfully there are a few ways they can have a positive impact during the twilight of their lives.
One of the primary ways senior citizens can stay healthy, is to stay active. Regular physical activity is essential to keep your body strong and able to withstand the effects of aging. It’s been shown by numerous studies that once you stop moving, you start dying. This is one of the main reasons why slips and falls are such a serious concern for elderly people. A broken hip, leg or ankle will force a senior into a lengthy period of immobility which often leads to other serious medical issues.
Physical activity such as walking and swimming are excellent ways to keep senior citizens lower bodies strong and agile. Your upper body shouldn’t be neglected since shoulders, arms, back and chest muscles all need attention. Ideally, all exercise should involve resistance and additional weight. Not to suggest that all senior citizens so turn to body building (But why not??) however whenever possible, the elderly should lift, push and pull weight other than their body weight. This use of resistance and weight will not only keep muscles toned but even more importantly, strengthen your bones, keep your ligaments and tendons flexible and in good working order. Keeping yourself physically active as a senior will definitely help prevent broken bones and other injuries that can become life threatening, ensuring you can keep moving, and keep living!
Diet is another way to keep the elderly living longer and healthier. This doesn’t mean necessarily going on a diet, but rather making better choices with what you put in your body. Filling your body with many colorful vegetables, proteins and healthy fats will arm you with the vitamins and nutrients you need to fight off illness and infection, reduce the need for medications, as well as keep your energy levels high. Not to be underestimated, but the foods you put into your body have direct impact on your mind as well, so keeping away from processed foods and sugars is essential to keeping your mind sharp. Not surprisingly, the sheer numbers of processed fast foods that are made available makes it a real challenge to eat healthy. Thankfully, there has been an increase in healthy fast food options at home and on the road such as salad bars, juice bars (Watch out for hidden sugars), and other health conscious stores and convenience foods. An even better way to ensure you eat well is to meal plan your meals. Meal planning your week in advance will help you organize your food intake so that you’ve got healthy options available at all times, especially when you are out of the home where those fast food temptations might lead you astray. Another excellent practice is to eat a good meal before you venture out for the day, then bring some healthy snacks. Not only will this help you save money, but it also set you up for success in healthy eating. You won’t live a long and active life without putting clean burning fuel in your body so do yourself a favor and change those eating habits sooner than later.
One final way to help you live longer and healthier is to exercise your mind. Physical exercise will work your mind too, as will diet…However, reading books, magazines, articles on the Internet will keep your brain well-oiled and working efficiently. Crossword, Sudoku, Work Search and other brain teasers will keep your mind stimulated. Playing board games with people, meeting family and friends and then having good conversations are important for not only for the social aspect but recollecting and remembering helps work different areas of the brain. You should also draw, doodle, sketch, paint or even get one of those new adult-oriented coloring books. Great for hand-eye coordination and also small motor skills but using the artistic and creative side of your brain will help keep your mind healthy and ensure that your brain will be able to keep up with your body as you age.
It’s one thing to make it to old age, another thing entirely to be healthy and happy. No one wants to age painfully so please heed this advice:
Take control of how you age. and don’t become a victim of poor eating choices and a lack of physical and mental exercise. Control what you can control in your life. You can’t help genetics but you have a say in how you age. Eat clean. Keep moving. Exercise your mind. By doing this you will have done everything you are able to do, to live a long and healthy life. so, start living healthier today so you you can have more quality time later!