Today’s seniors are more active and living longer than ever before. It comes as no surprise that the baby boomer generation is approaching old age with their signature rebellious style; they are not going to sit down in a rocking chair and fade away without a fight, but instead, do what they can to live their best life for years to come.
However, no matter how spirited, time waits for no one and the body and mind will start to show signs of wear sooner rather than later if you do not take care of yourself. Use these six tips to keep yourself healthy and fit, no matter your age.
1. Stay Active
Physical activity is important for people of all ages, but it is especially critical as you get older and start to slow down. Aim to get moving for two to three hours per week, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and practicing your balance. The stronger and more fit you are, the longer you can maintain your mobility and independence.
Staying active as you age will help you feel good about yourself. Research shows that it boosts your mood and improves your ability to think clearly. Physical activity in older adults also lowers your risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and injuries.
2. Eat Well
Nutrition has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of adults as we age. As your appetite shifts and dietary needs change, it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet rich in nutrients for physical and brain health.
Eating a healthy diet not only helps you avoid excess weight, which can be especially dangerous for seniors, but it will also help you avoid the vitamin and nutrient deficiencies that are common among the elderly population. To eat well, avoid overly processed foods, refined sugar, and high-sodium foods. It is best to choose meals that are rich in fiber, protein, potassium, calcium, vitamins D and B12, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acids.
3. Manage Stress
Getting older can be stressful for many adults. Anxiety over ailments, the financial strain of being on a limited income, and the death of friends and loved ones can cause mounting worry and a sense of dread.
It’s essential to do what you can to keep stress at bay. Some stress management tips for seniors include staying active, doing deep breathing exercises, journaling, thinking about all the things for which you are thankful, spending time with old friends or making new friends your age, spending time with family and grandchildren, and spending time with pets.
4. Quit Smoking
If you’ve been meaning to quit smoking for years, now is the time to get serious about it, as elderly people who smoke are susceptible to not only chronic conditions but also sudden death. The truth is, smoking is one of the most difficult bad habits to kick as nicotine is a severely addictive substance.
But even if you have been smoking since you were young, it is possible to start reversing the negative effects of smoking if you stop now. As you probably know, smoking causes lung, throat, and mouth cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, among other ailments.
5. Protect Your Skin
As we age, our skin becomes drier, thinner, and more delicate. In addition to gaining wrinkles, we are also more prone to bruising, as well as cuts and sores that take longer to heal and are more likely to become infected. Older adults are also more susceptible to skin cancer.
To protect yourself from age-related skin problems, stay out of the sun, wear hats and protective clothing, and use sunscreen and moisturizer daily. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and you leave yourself vulnerable when you do not protect and take care of it.
6. Prevent Falls
Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for older adults. As we age, we lose our strength, grip, and balance, and also tend to have problems with our vision and general clumsiness. For many seemingly healthy adults of advanced age, devastating falls can seem to come out of nowhere.
It’s important to be proactive about preventing falls. When moving around at night, be sure to turn on the lights or use nightlights. Get rid of any loose carpets and rugs, and clear rooms of clutter, stray cords, and any bulky furniture that gets in the way. Also, be sure to wear supportive shoes around the house rather than walking barefoot.
None of us want to think of ourselves as slowing down and it is difficult to accept that we are growing older. The good news is, by following the essential health tips we’ve covered in this article and seeing your doctor for regular screenings, assessments, and treatments, you can extend your active years, maintain your independence, and enjoy good health for years to come.
Julie Bray, CFP® is the President and a Client Wealth Manager at GW Financial, Inc (GWF) in Orange County and Palm Desert, California. GWF is an independent, fee-only wealth management and financial planning firm specializing in advising and engaging individuals, families, and organizations. They focus on coaching clients toward financial peace of mind through financial education, clear communication, and smart resolutions.
Content in this material is for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.