Aging happens to everyone, but not everyone ages the same. To ensure you stay happy and healthy as you age, it is important to focus on wellness. A healthy lifestyle includes proper nutrition, exercise, and social activities. Here are some helpful tips to help you enjoy an active and fulfilled life as you age.
Proper nutrition simply means eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. For some doing so can help with weight loss as well as other medical conditions which depend on proper nutrition for optimal health. A healthy and well-balanced eating plan features fresh whole foods and avoids processed “foods” filled with high levels of sodium and artificial ingredients. This means, you’ll need to start reading labels, and relinquishing your access to highly processed products. Try to reduce “white” starches, like refined sugars and grains. Swap those out for whole grains and limit natural sugars to avoid unwanted cravings. Choose foods like leafy greens, fruits, and soups. Cook at home often and shun pre-prepared meals, which often have an excess of sugar and sodium, as well as larger than normal portions. Limit your intake of foods with processed sugar like cakes, pastries, cookies, and candy.
Staying physically active is an important part of an active, healthy lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyle choices lead to weight gain and other negative health consequences. Alternatively, exercise can help you stay at a healthy weight and improve your health decreasing your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Physical activity improves your overall quality of life and reduces stress.
It is easy to get started with a simple routine like walking or beginner aerobics, both of which can increase your heart rate without strain. The American Heart Association recommends a combination of moderate (walking) to vigorous (jogging or running) intensity aerobic activity each week. It is important to include cardio workouts with strength training and flexibility exercises. Strength training (lunges, push-ups, leg lifts, squats) lowers the muscle loss which often accompanies aging and increases muscle mass.
When exercising it is important to avoid injury which can come with aging degeneration. You may notice changes like decreased balance and performance, but keep going moving safely, avoiding high risk exercises and too much repetition. Balance exercises can help with coordination, as strength training can improve muscles in problem areas. Swimming is a great option as you age because it gets you heart rate up but is easy on the joints. Plus, swimming has been shown to improved mood.
Staying socially active with family and friends will help you improve not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. Numerous studies have shown those who remain socially engaged are healthier overall with lower stress levels and decreased risks of Alzheimer’s Disease. There are lots of ways to stay engaged with others, from group activities like exercise classes or art classes to enjoying an evening out with friends, or simply taking a walk with a friend or family members. Find ways to connect and stay socially active to ensure happiness and health as you age.
Rest and Relax
While physical activity is important, so are rest and relaxation. In fact, too little sleep can cause junk food cravings with weight gain as an unwanted result. Get the sleep you need and allow your body to recover and repair from your active lifestyle. Take the time to relax, finding the way that works best for you. Some people enjoy yoga, meditation, art, and travel – so find your favorite way to relax and enjoy!
Aging Happy and Healthy
As you work on your routine for healthy living while you age, reach out to professionals on the Space Coast for the help and guidance you need.