Just over one-fifth (21.8 percent) of senior men over the age of 65 are in fair or poor health. If you’re part of this group, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to try and turn things around.
There are lots of habits that you can start developing today that will help you live a healthier, happier, and longer life. Start with the six healthy habits listed below.
1. Exercise Regularly
Getting older is not an excuse to stop moving. Regular exercise is essential for seniors who want to maintain or improve their health — that’s why the daily exercise recommendations for seniors are the same as the recommendations for younger adults.
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, you don’t have to suddenly start spending hours in the gym each day. Start slowly by going for a daily walk or bike ride. Over time, you can incorporate different types of exercise like yoga and weightlifting.
Lifting weights is especially beneficial for seniors. It helps prevent a loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) and promotes healthy bones and joints.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Staying properly hydrated is also essential for seniors who want to live a long, healthy life. This means drinking water and limiting soda. If you need extra motivation to make the switch, consider the fact that nearly 200,000 deaths each year appear to be related to consumption of sugary drinks.
Soda is especially problematic for senior men, as it can increase the risk of prostate cancer and diabetes.
In addition to cutting down on soda, remember that over-consuming alcohol also isn’t ideal for promoting good health. Not only does alcohol dehydrate you (it’s a diuretic), but it’s also been linked to high blood pressure.
3. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
In a perfect world, you’d be eating about 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. How close are you to that number? If you’re like most seniors (and people, in general), you’re probably pretty far from perfect.
Start trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. You don’t have to give up your other favorite foods, but try to add an extra serving of fruit or vegetables alongside them. For example, enjoy serving of broccoli and cauliflower with your steak.
Eating more fruits and vegetables will help you get more antioxidants, which are essential for protecting your cells from damage. Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber, which can prevent a variety of chronic diseases (including type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease).
4. Take a Daily Multivitamin
Even if you’re eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables, you might still be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. A good way to cover your bases and make sure you’re getting all you need is to take a daily multivitamin.
The best multivitamins for men will contain a blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. One that contains calcium, vitamin D, and potassium is especially good.
5. Practice Mindfulness
A regular meditation or mindfulness practice is a great thing for seniors to develop. These practices help reduce stress. This, in turn, can boost immune system function, promote healthy digestion, and even prevent heart disease and cardiovascular issues.
Many senior centers offer meditation or mindfulness classes. It’s also fairly easy to start practicing mindfulness on your own — simply find a quiet place to sit and focus on your breath and let your thoughts go. Start with just a few minutes a day, and you’ll likely notice some great benefits.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep can help keep a variety of health problems at bay, and, when you’re getting enough of it, you’ll have more energy and be better able to withstand the stresses of everyday life.
If you have a hard time sleeping through the night, make sure you’re not exposing yourself to a lot of blue light (from your TV or computer screen) right before bed. It’s also helpful to stop drinking a few hours before bed — that way, you won’t have to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.