The 4 Secrets to Healthy Aging

“People often assume that aging inevitably comes with a rapid decline in health. However, there is a reason why you see so many older adults who are fit as a fiddle in their old age: They maintain healthy lifestyles. Indeed, losses in physical and mental well-being are often due to a decline in specific healthy behaviors rather than a simple decline in overall health.

Once you understand this relationship, healthy aging becomes easy. It is a simple matter of developing key healthy habits and incorporating them into a regular routine. These are the four healthy habits you should be working to maintain in your senior years.

A Balanced Diet

Many seniors let their diets decline as they grow older. Some start eating less, for example because they don’t like cooking for one or have reduced appetite due to medication. Some, on the other hand, will start overeating because they are not matching their calorie intake to reduced levels of activity.

The good news is that it is nowadays easier than ever for seniors to keep track of their diets and make sure they are eating healthy. Several smartphone apps are available to help you manage a grocery, which is a great way to ensure you stick to a meal plan. For those with mobility problems, ingredient delivery services can send you everything you need for healthy, homemade food straight to your door or even deliver ready-made nutritious meals. 

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help you prevent a host of illnesses and health problems, from arthritis to heart disease, dementia and depression. It is the best way to keep your body healthy as you grow older, while also being a wonderful tool for your mental health.

Many seniors are scared of exercise because they fear it will cause them injury, but the key is choosing the right workouts. A certified personal trainer that specializes in senior wellness is an invaluable partner if you’re just getting started. They can teach you exercises that are safe for your abilities. By working out the right way, you can reduce your chances of sustaining an injury due to a fall or muscle strain. If you have an existing injury, or suffer with arthritis, a trainer can teach you ways to avoid causing yourself further pain and inflammation. In Home Senior Fitness offers programs that come to you so you can exercise in the comfort of your own home.

Mental Stimulation

According to Awakening from Alzheimer’s, recent research has shown that a decline in cognitive function is a result of lack of mental exercise, not a natural decline in brain function. What this means is that the key to remaining sharp in old age is to keep learning new things and working your mind.

The key is to keep things fresh and interesting. If you’ve always enjoyed puzzles, start looking beyond the newspaper crossword and download some puzzle games onto your phone or tablet. If you love crafting, look up new patterns and techniques you haven’t done before. Best of all, start a new hobby: It’s never too late to pick up an instrument or a paintbrush, and the possibilities for learning will be endless.

Socializing

Loneliness is not often seen as a health problem, but it most definitely is one. A senior’s “social capital,” or the personal connections they have with the people around them, has a direct effect on mental well-being to cognitive ability. Indirectly, a lack of a social circle can make seniors less likely to engage in other healthy behaviors like leaving the house for a walk or cooking themselves a healthy meal.

If you find your social circle has been getting smaller, make an effort to meet new people. Join a local class for that new hobby of yours or join a local walking group as part of your exercise routine. There are always plenty of events and meetups happening for seniors in almost every city, so seek these out and remember that everyone there will also be looking for new friends.

Healthy aging is a matter of habit. Your lifestyle is perhaps the most important factor in determining your quality of life in old age, so it is crucial to make it as healthy and fulfilling as possible. By building these habits into a regular routine, you are giving yourself the tools to enjoy peaceful, pleasant and productive golden years.”

-Karen Weeks

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