Wellness for Seniors: How to Achieve Your Health Goals

It’s no secret that as you age, health and wellness become more important and living in a healthier way has proven to add years to your life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by age 75 about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity. This can lead to devastating results when it comes to your health, so if your physical activity is limited, it’s time to take action. 

Knowing what the expectation is versus the reality of actually implementing these wellness practices into your life can feel overwhelming, but it can also be incredibly beneficial mentally and physically. We’ve got some suggestions on how to make wellness a dominant part of your everyday life. 

Consider your options.

As you set out to create your new wellness routine, remember that convenience is key. Be realistic about your health and wellness goals and use resources that are readily available to you, such as a community center nearby that hosts exercise classes, or a bike or walking trail close to your home. Lofty goals can overwhelm you to the point of giving up, and then you’re right back where you started. So take it slow and be thoughtful. When browsing through our tips below, write down ideas that come to mind as far as convenience for creating a more healthy lifestyle. 

Get moving. 

If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to your health and wellness, the best place is exercise. A good rule of thumb is 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 days a week. The physical health benefits of exercise for seniors include reduced risk of coronary heart disease and high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes. In addition, it can help lessen symptoms of chronic, disabling conditions, help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and help control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.

Also remember that physical activity doesn’t always have to look like conventional exercise. In order for an exercise routine to stick, you have to do something you like. Walking, dancing, and hiking will all get your heartrate up and provide an adequate workout. 

Find joy in a balanced diet.

Your diet should evolve as you get older because your metabolism slows down and your body requires different nutrients. A general guide to follow when planning meals is to ensure your plate contains a variety full of bright, colorful foods. 

The National Council on Aging advises a meal consist of the following:

  • Lean protein such as meats, seafood, eggs, and beans
  • Fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors with an emphasis on orange, red, green, and purple
  • Whole grains including brown rice and whole-wheat pasta
  • Low-fat dairy, milk, and milk alternatives like soy, almond, and cashew

Use this list as you plan out your meals for the week. Take one food from each category and you have yourself a balanced breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Have fun with new recipes or find a new hobby in cooking if it’s out of the ordinary for you. If you’re not interested in cooking, these guidelines will help you make healthy choices when it comes to take-out and snacking. 

Kick harmful habits and replace them with healthy ones. 

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with an estimated 8.4% of seniors smoking cigarettes on a regular basis, according to the CDC

Some have found replacing cigarettes with a healthy activity helpful to their goal of quitting. Try doing small exercises whenever you have the urge to have a cigarette, such as ten squats or lunges. You may also find that you crave cigarettes less as you become more focused on physical activity and exercise helps your body feel better. 

Be mindful of your weight. 

Focusing on daily physical activity and a healthy diet will make this one a more simple task, but always remember to be conscious of your weight. Being overweight has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and glucose intolerance, certain types of cancer, and sleep-related breathing disorders. It can also lead to even more problems as the years go on. 

Speak with your doctor to determine if you’re at a healthy weight and what your next steps will be based on his or her feedback. Consistent check-ups with your doctor will help ensure you’re remaining at a healthy weight and you’ll also be able to better regulate it. 

Get your rest. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information found that a lack of sleep can cause short-term cognitive impairment and long-term cognitive decline. Adequate sleep allows you to maintain mental well-being, perform activities of daily living, avoid fall risks, stay in good health, and reduce risk of hospitalization. 

Insomnia can get the best of us and threaten to ruin a good night’s sleep. And age-related physiological changes may affect sleep as you get older. Combat your case of tossing and turning with these tips. 

Exercise and diet are common themes when it comes to wellness, and they play a role in getting a good night’s sleep as well. 

  • Certain foods can disrupt your sleep, such as foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and processed carbohydrates. While consuming plants, fiber, and foods rich in unsaturated fat such as nuts, fish, and avocados actually promote sleep.
  • What you do with your body throughout the day affects your sleep just as much as what you put into it. The scientific reasons that exercising can help you sleep better at night include regulated temperature, reduced anxiety, and antidepressant agents in exercise. 

Establish a morning routine and a bedtime routine.

  • Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every morning and night reinforces the circadian rhythm of your body. This will help your body function more efficiently and provide more energy.
  • Sticking to a routine in the morning and night can help you stick to waking up and going to sleep around the same time, but it will also better prepare you for the day or for the night’s sleep ahead.

Remember that everyone’s wellness lifestyle looks different. Finding what works best for you is key. Take these tips into consideration and see how you can incorporate them into your day-to-day life. And always keep in mind the goal – a healthier and happier life. If you want more information on health and wellness resources available to you, visit Searstone.