7 Habits for Healthy Aging

client participating in strength exercise

As seniors begin to age, they tend to change their living habits. As injuries and health issues occur, seniors may become more reclusive and disengaged from activities that they once enjoyed doing. The loss of such independence may be attributed to decreased physical, emotional, and cognitive functioning in elderly adults. It is important to promote general well-being and activity in order to continue to live a healthy life. By engaging in a few simple habits, seniors can be sure to live a healthy life as they age! This is where a caregiver can really help seniors age healthily.

Keep Exercising

Exercise has significantly more benefits than just making you stronger. It is important to engage in aerobic exercises and resistance exercises in order to stay fit as we age. Aerobic exercises may include walking, gardening, water aerobics, or Zumba. Aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular health and can improve balance. Resistance exercises include lifting weights and body weight exercises. These forms of exercise improve stability and help to reduce falls. Exercising improves oxygen flow to the brain, which can help the Central Nervous System. The increased blood flow can help reduce blood pressure and relieve arthritis and swelling in joints. It also benefits memory retention and clarity. Exercising keeps one strong and agile, which can be particularly helpful if preparing for surgery or rehabilitation of some sort.

Eat Nutritiously

Our diet can make or break our physical and mental health. It is important to maintain a diet filled with nutrients that will help us stay alert and energized as we age. Fruits and vegetables that are high in water content will help with hydration. Hydration can be affected by prescription medications, chronic medical conditions, and decreased blood circulation, among other things. By proactively eating nutritiously and staying aware of hydration, we can combat some of the negative physical feelings that are associated with losing  nutrients and becoming dehydrated. Fruits and vegetables that are brightly colored and fresh are the best choices for elderly adults. If foods are bland, spices and herbs can be added instead of salt. Reduction of salt will also help with hydration and can reduce joint inflammation.

Stay Social

Being around friends and family is one of the healthiest things you can do! Socializing impacts emotional health, which can then improve physical health. Going out to eat, going shopping, or going for a walk are all examples of ways to stay social and can improve health. Going to an exercise class or going for a walk with a friend are beneficial to physical and emotional health. Being more active and around others can also prevent colds and may lower blood pressure! There are a variety of ways to engage in socialization activities. Senior resource groups in the area have many options of activities for seniors to engage in.

Keep a Regular Sleep Pattern

The importance of seniors to get enough sleep is often overshadowed. The body needs time to recover and re-energize, and that is especially important for the elderly. Getting six to eight hours of sleep per night is essential in preventing falls and other preventable health problems. Memory is improved with sleep, so seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease stand to benefit from more sleep. Napping throughout the day and certain medications can harm sleep patterns. It is important to limit napping and to consult with your physician regarding medication management if having trouble sleeping.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest things to do to improve or maintain health. Hydration can be improved by drinking enough water and eating fruits and vegetables with high water content. Examples of fruits with high water content are watermelon, pineapple, blueberries, and citrus fruits. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and celery are also good sources of nutrition and hydration. Non-greek yogurt has high water content as well, and is a great snack or breakfast item.

Stimulate Your Brain

The brain is the most important organ in our body. As we age, our brain tends to lose stimulation, especially after retirement. Our brains aren’t as sharp as we age, but it doesn’t have to regress. By engaging in reading, writing and music, our brains can be stimulated. Engaging in such activities can also jog one’s memories. Some studies have even shown that diminished brain function can lead to an increased risk of dementia. By engaging in social activities and participating in various hobbies, seniors can expect to remain mentally engaged in life and maintain overall well-being.

Stay Positive

Some say that attitude is everything. As we age, that adage rings true. Aging can be a lonely and reclusive time. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Participating in social events, volunteering, and engaging in hobbies are all examples of things that give us fulfillment in life. Having close familial and friend relationships all value to our lives. Hobbies and close relationships can very well improve our health. Having a positive outlook on life can lead to engaging in more, fun activities. More activity can then lead to more overall health due to increased movement and emotional well-being.