As we get older, we tend to stop taking our well-being for granted and focus more on how we can feel happier, healthier, and full of vitality. Aging brings with it the inevitable aches and ailments, but by adopting a few new behaviors and swapping bad habits for good, you’ll see a marked improvement in the way you feel.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to make a change.
If you want to take charge of your wellness and improve your quality of life, here are ten simple ways to do just that.
Eat a Well-Balanced, Healthy Diet
To follow a healthy and well-balanced diet doesn’t mean only eating salads or putting as little as possible on your plate. It means eating foods that support your dietary needs by supplying you with the protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed for your body to function properly.
Choose fresh, healthy whole foods that are low in saturated fat and have a high fiber content. Decrease your intake of full-fat dairy, red meat, and processed foods. The so-called Mediterranean diet can be fantastic for seniors as it focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, and fish.
Social activity and community involvement are another way you can take charge of your health and well-being as a senior. Regular interaction with your friends and family can help keep the blues at bay. You’ll enjoy longer-lasting good moods more often, and you’ll probably be more physically active too.
You can experience similar benefits from being involved in your community in various ways. Consider joining a gym or a seniors’ yoga class, volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or orphanage, or participating in alumni group activities.
Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for yourself as you get older. Exercise can help manage the effects of chronic diseases such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Regular exercise offers you increased mobility and can help you maintain improved balance, and there are mental health benefits, such as improved cognitive function. It can also help you to work through and reduce anxiety and depression.
According to the CDC, all you need is 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a day, five days a week. Also, it’s a good idea to perform muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Growing older can bring a variety of health issues, so it’s important to have regular check-ups. Visit your doctor, optometrist, dentist, and specialists to make sure you nip any new issues in the bud.
If you have been hospitalized recently, take an array of medications, or experience problems with your mobility or memory, a geriatrician’s visit may be in order.
Geriatricians are healthcare providers who focus on offering medical care to older people. They can help create personalized care plans, coordinate treatments, and refer you to specialists when appropriate.
Take Medication As Directed
Whether you take a single pill daily for your blood pressure or a cocktail of medications for various issues, there may be days when you’re tempted to skip your meds. Skipping medication can exacerbate issues and potentially create new ones, so it’s best to take your meds as directed by your doctor.
The good news is that you may not need to be on all your meds for the rest of your life. Schedule medication reviews with your doctor once or twice a year. You may find that some of your prescriptions are no longer necessary or can be reduced.
Don’t Neglect Estate Planning
Not having plans in place in case you’re incapacitated or pass away can be a major point of stress. If you haven’t drawn up a Will, assigned power of attorney to someone you trust, or taken out seniors’ funeral insurance, you should do so as soon as possible.
Advanced directives, insurance policies, assigning power of attorney, and a Last Will and Testament ensure that no matter what, your wishes regarding your healthcare and estate will be carried out as and when necessary.
Look After Your Dental Health
Most of us probably don’t associate diabetes and heart disease with dental health. However, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, there’s a link between good dental hygiene and metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.
Good dental hygiene practices include using a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth twice a day. You should floss daily too, and use a mouthwash regularly. If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them properly on a regular basis.
Regardless of whether you smoke cigarettes, a pipe, cigars, or an e-cigarette, consider quitting as soon as possible.
A stronger, healthier heart and a decreased risk of diabetes, lung damage, and cancer are just some of the benefits of quitting smoking. Kicking the habit is a great way to save money too, as smoking is expensive.
Get Enough Rest
If you’re 65 or older, you ideally should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. For seniors, sleep is vital for refreshing the body and mind, and it can help improve your immune system.
Enough shut-eye reduces stress, helps you think more clearly, and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, men and women shouldn’t have more than one alcoholic drink per day. Consuming more alcohol than that can increase the mortality risk of related cancers, diseases, and strokes. Mixing large volumes of alcohol with medication can have adverse effects too, so limiting your intake is always wise.
As you can see, taking charge of your health and wellbeing as a senior is mostly about making the right lifestyle choices. You can’t change the past, but you can work towards a healthier future. These changes can be made quite easily, and you’ll soon see and feel the difference.