It’s normal to worry about what our lives will look like as we get older. Whether you’re concerned about health issues, the risk of falling, or loss of independence, that fear has the potential to strip away your happiness. The truth is that you don’t have to live with this fear. It’s never too late to take charge of your health to prevent those problems and maintain a better quality of life.
Find Joy in Exercise
You probably already know the big buzz words for healthier living are diet and exercise. What you may not realize is that it doesn’t take drastic changes in either of these to see major health improvements. Studies about seniors and exercise have shown that seniors who are active spend 25 percent less time injured or disabled than those who don’t exercise. This is because exercise helps all your body’s systems stay healthier, including aiding immune function, cardiovascular and respiratory health, bone density, and gastrointestinal health. According to NBC News, research has even shown that people who continued to exercise into their 80s and 90s had improved memory and cognitive function compared to those who were less active.
The most important thing with exercise is to find something you enjoy so that you’ll stick with it. Outdoor activities like golf are ideal because the fresh air and time spent in nature are an added boost to your mental health. Plus, golf is a great activity to take up with friends or to make new friends. Yoga is another gentle physical activity that enhances your social life. Spending time in a group setting with friends helps to build a community around you, and that’s so important as you get older. Yoga also has the benefit of being adaptable to any mobility level.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. And if you’re already on Medicare, you should consider looking into a Medicare Advantage plan, like the ones provided by Humana. These plans give you free access to the Silver Sneakers program, where you can connect with other seniors who are venturing down the path to physical fitness. Advantage plans also offer benefits like dental, hearing, and vision coverage, so they’re a boon for those who want to take care of their overall well-being.
Fuel Your Future
Of course, exercise is only one component of healthy living. Eating the right diet is the other key piece to staying healthy and feeling your best. This can be a challenge for some seniors because it’s common for your sense of smell and taste to diminish with age. Some people make up for that by choosing foods high in fat or added salt. If you find that you’re slipping into this pattern, it’s easy to make small changes that make nutritious foods more appealing. When you cook, try using spices instead of salt and “good” fats like olive oil instead of saturated fats.
Just like you need to find an activity that makes exercise fun, you have to make healthy eating tasty in order to stick with it. You’re even more likely to succeed if you find meals that are quick and easy to make. The internet is a great resource for new meal ideas, like these recipes that are packed full of nutrients and flavor.
Seize the Day
As crucial as it is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise, perhaps the most important thing you can do for your overall well-being is care for your mental health. This is one reason why we recommend outdoor activities and ones you do with a group because being in nature and staying social are two ways to ward off depression. Even with these ideas, another key to good mental health is having a sense of purpose in life. The Huffington Post recommends working a part-time job (maybe that dream job you always put off?) or devoting some time to a hobby. Doing this keeps you from getting stuck in the same old routine. No matter your age, there are always new adventures around the corner―you just have to be willing to find them!
Keep in mind that your mental and physical health are connected, so each positive step you take leads to overall health improvements. Don’t give up on your wellness goals just because you may not have achieved them earlier in life. There’s no time like the present to take control of your health and feel better than ever.