Hello to all you wonderful Seniors out there! Today I would like to discuss some tips for healthy living as we grow “older”. Shhhh- don’t admit to growing older.
And please don’t fall for the myth that “I am too old to improve my health.”
It is only true if you believe it!
Below, I have listed for you a few really basic tips that I plan to expand on in future blogs. I’ll let you in on another secret here- these tips are good for everyone regardless of your age.
1) Exercise! Get up and Move!
I just had to start with this one since I am a physical therapist. I often hear “I am too old to exercise.” There are centenarians out there proving this statement wrong. Your age is not a good excuse.
So where do you start. You need to find an activity that you enjoy or you won’t be inspired to start or keep doing it. If possible, find a partner to exercise with you for safety and for motivation.
Walking is one of the best exercises. If possible, get out and get some fresh air. The mall is also a great place to walk as the surfaces are usually level and indoors if the weather is bad. For those that are homebound, you can start by walking laps in your home and increasing the number of laps you can perform in one session.
Water therapy is great for those with joint pain or arthritis. The buoyancy of the water decreases the strain on the joints by supporting the weight of the person. A recumbent stationary bike is another low impact exercise which places less strain on the joints, while giving you strengthening and cardio benefits.
For those of you that do not like to “exercise”, you can re-kindle your love for a hobby or find a new one. Something that gets your body moving.
If you are afraid to move because you have pain, a disability, or are afraid of falling, contact your physical therapist to help you get started. They will design an exercise regimen that is safe and just right for you.
When adding any exercise regimen to your lifestyle, always consult your physician first before starting any program. Make sure you wear proper attire. Remember to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Keep a phone with you. Do not over do it. Start slowly and listen to your body.
2) Nutrition! You are what you eat!
Well maybe not exactly, but the food we eat is our fuel for the day. What kind of fuel are you going to pump into your body?
This does not mean you have to go on a diet and sacrifice the things you enjoy eating. This does mean eating foods that give you better nutrition. Adding some fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet, getting enough lean protein, and eating whole grains.
If you snack all day on junk food, you probably are not going to have an appetite for a nourishing meal. We get in a routine of eating the same foods all the time. Is it time reassess your eating habits?
Make a list of some nutritious foods that you like, and pick a few that are easy to make and start adding them into your diet now. Sorry to say a strawberry filled donut does not count for fruit and whole grains.
Well, you might be thinking, I am old enough, I can eat whatever I want. The donut tastes much better than a cup of broccoli. What if I told you that eating a more balanced diet can help increase your energy level, increase your mental sharpness, and improve your immune system to fight off illness and disease. Would you be willing to take the next step to improve your eating habits?
Remeber if you are on a restricted diet or have specific health conditions, please consult your doctor or dietician before adding new foods into your diet.
3) Keep your mind sharp! Do mental push-ups!
Don’t fall for the myth that memory loss is a part of getting older. You may be forgetful at times, but this does not mean that you are getting confused or have dementia.
Believe it or not we can train our brain at any age. But just like a muscle, if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Neuroscientists have proven that our brain remains plastic or changeable throughout our lifetime. Neural connections can be strengthened or weakened. When we learn new activities our brain creates new pathways no matter how old or young we are.
There are many activities that you can do to help you maintain your brain power and even improve your memory such as crossword puzzles, word finds, games that involve strategy, taking on a new project, making a new recipe. You can find specific books of brain games to improve your memory. Your local library might be a good resource for books or programs on CD that focus on improving your brain function.
4) Get inspired! Find meaning and joy!
A key to healthy living is finding meaning and joy in your life as it is now.
If you are more mobile, you may want to volunteer, take a class, or play with your grandchildren. For those limited to your home, the internet is making it easier to stay connected with family and friends or pick up the phone and call someone. A simple phone call to a friend or family can make a difference in another person’s life as well as your own.
You may not be able to phsically participate in the activities you used to enjoy doing, but what can you do now that you will enjoy? You might be able to start a new hobby, join a club, interact and participate at your local senior center. Maybe you know how to sew or knit and can donate your creations to a charity or to others in need.
Your presence here is important. How can you make it more meaningful for you and your loved ones? What can you do to bring more fun and joy into your life?
These are just a few basic tips you can focus on to improve your health and well-being. Pick one that you feel is reasonable and easy to accomplish and try it out. Look for future blogs with further information on each of these tips. Also please add your comments on how you have improved your living. I would love to hear from you. Remember your comments and suggestions can benefit others.
Happy Day! Here’s to Helping You Move Forward in Life with Confidence!
Blog medical disclaimer: By reading this blog, you agree not to use this blog as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.