The Top 4 Tips for Seniors to Maximize Your Health
By Jason Lewis
For those who are used to leading a fit and active lifestyle, thinking about aging often makes us nervous. After all, one of the primary reasons we stay fit is to maintain our health. But even the fittest among us will start to see and feel the effects of aging eventually, but that doesn’t mean we have to slow down! Instead, we just have to stay proactive and make sure our wellness and fitness routines still fit our changing needs.
Take Care of Yourself!
You probably already have the basics of diet and exercise down, but staying well later in life requires more than just healthy habits. While keeping up with your exercise routine, aim to make self-care and preventive healthcare a regular part of your life too. In between workouts, take time to rest and pamper yourself. Muscles need a little extra TLC as we get older, and treatments like acupuncture and massage therapy can help you get back to yourself faster.
It’s important to keep up with preventive health screenings as well. One of the great things about being a senior is being eligible for Medicare, but you want to thoroughly understand all your options to make the most of your benefits. Some people choose to go with basic Medicare, adding supplemental plans for prescriptions and other services that aren’t included. Others go with Medicare Advantage plans (also called Medicare Part C) as an alternative. If you’re considering getting supplemental coverage in the new year, start by looking into which options are available in your state. While not covered by basic Medicare, some Advantage plans now cover massage and other alternative treatments.
Vary Your Fitness Routine
By the time we hit retirement, it’s normal to feel settled and comfortable with your routines. The problem with being settled is that if you only do one type of exercise, there are some key benefits you’re missing. Some exercises are better than others, and according to U.S. News, a recent study showed that cycling has drastic improvements on the health of older adults.
One reason cycling is so great at all ages is that it builds strength while getting your heart rate up. But older adults also need to do weight-bearing exercise, especially women, who are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. This is why even the most active seniors need to vary their fitness routines. You really need all different types of activity to get the maximum health benefit.
We also want to be aware of mental health as we age. Any exercise can boost your mental health, but if you feel stuck in a rut, it’s a good idea to explore new options. You may get a real mental health boost from outdoor sports, trying a dance class, or taking up yoga.
Tailor Your Diet
Healthy eating for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated, but like exercise, you want to give it careful consideration. Even when you already have a balanced diet, certain foods can become more problematic. HuffPost explains how many health problems we face as we age are at least partially rooted in what’s going into our gut. This is why it’s a good idea to be aware of how food impacts your gut health, such as reducing dairy and red meat. Instead, aim for the tried-and-true goal of eating the rainbow with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Anyone can suffer from insomnia, but older adults are at an increased risk, and the effects hit us harder. If insomnia is an ongoing problem, you should check with your doctor. However, in many cases, we can troubleshoot sleep issues by establishing a better bedtime routine.
Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising — these are all the basics for healthy living. The way we care for ourselves later in life isn’t that different from when we were younger. The main thing is to be more mindful about our needs and target them with the best possible choices.