With the New Year fast approaching, it’s a great time to think about some positive changes you can make in your lifestyle to keep healthy as you age. Many seniors believe that aging means you won’t feel as good as you used to, but adopting healthier habits will help you transition to new stages of life while remaining happy and healthy.
There are many different areas of life that affect your physical and emotional wellbeing, and each area of life comes with its own set of habits that can be changed for the better. As you read through this post, look for areas where you think your own habits could be improved in the new year.
Tina Tessina, a marriage and family therapist, said in Senior Planet, “Being connected to people is good for your soul, your mind, your body, your emotions. It’s good for everything about you. We are genetically designed to be connected to people.”
It’s natural for relationships to change as we grow older, or even come to an end. But at the same time, it becomes even more important to strengthen and hold on to the relationships you do have.
“In my 20-plus years of being around seniors, I can always tell the difference between the people who have many healthy relationships versus those that don’t,” said Jody Auger, Executive Director at Vista Prairie at River Heights.
Healthy relationships contribute to happier, healthier lives. If you feel yourself drifting apart from a relationship, make an extra effort to reach out, spend time together, and share your thoughts and feelings. Focusing on the present moment together will bring you closer and can mend a relationship in danger of being broken.
Many seniors make the mistake of assuming they won’t be able to be as active as they age, and they stop engaging in the activities they love long before their body would actually prevent them from participating.
Growing older doesn’t mean you have to stop being active. In fact, physical activity is essential to staying healthy and feeling your best as you age. There are plenty of ways to get your body moving no matter what your mobility level is.
If you’ve let yourself believe the myth that seniors can’t be active, we encourage you to look for ways to introduce more activity into your life in 2018. Look at your community’s schedule of fitness classes and find one that sounds fun. Go on a walk with a neighbor or friend. Spend an afternoon playing games or doing arts and crafts—physical activity doesn’t just mean exercise.
Regardless of age, everyone loves to have fun and be active. Surround yourself with friends who want to be active and find creative ways to participate in activities you all enjoy, no matter the season.
As we grow older, eating a healthy and balanced diet becomes more difficult. Changes in smell and taste can affect food preferences or appetite. Lack of mobility might make it more challenging to prepare your favorite foods. For these and many other reasons, malnutrition is more common among seniors. However, proper nutrition is more important than ever.
The foods we eat have a widespread effect on our general wellbeing. Nutrition impacts physical health, mood, energy levels, and even cognitive function. Eating well may become more challenging, but nourishing your body is the essential foundation for staying healthy as you age.
If you’ve noticed your appetite changing or your healthy eating habits slipping, make an extra effort to choose healthy options in the dining room. Show up for all three meals a day; skipping meals can lead to caloric deficits that will negatively impact your mood and energy level.
Following a healthy and balanced diet will help you manage any chronic health or cognitive conditions, maintain a positive outlook, and wake up every morning feeling your best.
For more information on how to make positive changes in your habits that will help you stay active and healthy throughout the aging process, download Vista Prairie’s free guide, Keeping Healthy as You Age.