Did you know that by the age of 75, one in two women and one in three men don’t engage in any form of physical activity? And, only 35 to 44% of adults over the age of 75 are physically active?
Taking care of your health as a senior citizen is just as important as it is at any other phase in your life. Exercising and eating well will improve your sleep, boost your mental health, increase your life expectancy, and prevent disease and illness.
But what can you do to improve your wellness as a senior?
Check out these senior wellness tips to help you live your best life.
1. Stay Physically Active
As we just mentioned, most seniors aren’t physically active. This is a concerning statistic, as physical activity is essential to both your physical and mental well-being.
Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from common conditions that seniors suffer from such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or depression.
When it comes to staying active, the key is to pick something that you enjoy. This way, you’re more likely to stick with it. Whether it’s maintaining a gym routine, going for brisk walks, going swimming, or going for bike rides, you should try to incorporate physical activity into your life at least several times per week.
Before you start a new physical fitness routine, just make sure to consult with your doctor. Then, once your routine has been approved, it’s time to start moving.
If you find working out on your own to be boring, then grab a buddy to workout with you. Or, if you live in a retirement community, you can look to see if the community’s rec center offers exercise classes for seniors.
2. Eat Well
It’s no secret that most Americans don’t have a healthy diet, and this extends to the senior population. In fact, approximately 35% of adults over the age of 65 in the US are classified as obese.
Obesity can be a huge problem in older adults, as it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and more.
Luckily, eating well can help reverse as well as prevent obesity. As a senior, because you’re usually a bit less active and your metabolism is slower, you don’t need as many calories as you did when you were younger.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, it’s recommended that you consume around 1600 calories per day. If you lead a moderately active lifestyle (walk 1.5 to 3 miles per day at a 3-4mph pace), then you should aim to consume around 1800 calories per day.
If you lead an active lifestyle, (you walk 3+ miles per day in addition to regular activity), you should eat around 2000 calories per day.
Additionally, here are some foods that can be especially beneficial for senior diets:
- Chia Seeds: Great for managing blood sugar levels and diabetes
- Cherries: High in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation
- Salmon: High in omega-3 fatty acids that may fight Alzheimer’s
- Almonds: Nutrients may help fight cataract progression
- Spinach: Great for maintaining healthy eyes
- Non-fat Milk: Can promote bone health
- Whole Grains: Great for managing risk of heart disease
By incorporating these foods plus whole fruits, grains, and vegetables into your diet, you’ll be able to improve your overall health.
3. Get Enough Sleep
As an older adult, even though your schedule may not be as busy, your sleeping needs don’t change.
Just like adults at other ages, seniors need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function properly. Lack of sleep can increase your risk of a fall and cause depression, irritability, and memory problems.
In addition to getting enough hours of sleep, you want to make sure you’re maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, make sure to turn off the screens (TV, phone, etc) at least an hour before bedtime.
4. Stay Up to Date With Medical Checkups
Staying up to date with all of your medical checkups is also very important for your overall wellness as a senior.
At a minimum, you should be going to the dentist twice per year, getting a physical once per year, and seeing your eye doctor and hearing doctor once per year. If you’re avoiding going to the doctor because you’re having issues with your Medicaid insurance, then it’s important to get in touch with Medicaid lawyers.
Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation are very common in seniors. Studies find that isolation puts seniors at an increased risk of serious illnesses such as arthritis, chronic lung disease, and impaired mobility.
Feelings of loneliness also makes seniors more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and excess eating in order to cope with their feelings. Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness, including:
- Joining senior exercise groups
- Using technology to stay in touch with family and friends
- Adopting a pet
- Joining a volunteer organization or other social club
- Taking up a new hobby
If your feelings of isolation and loneliness are becoming overwhelming, then you should talk to your doctor.
6. Maintain Your Brain
According to the Alzheimer’s Association of America, 10% of people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the US, and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are things you can do to stave off the disease and maintain a healthy brain. Whether it’s reading, doing puzzles, or learning a new language or instrument, you should find ways to challenge your brain each day.
Time to Put These Senior Wellness Tips to Use
Now that you know these senior wellness tips, it’s time to put them into action. Before you know it, you’ll be living a healthier and happier life.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks on healthy living.