At every age, you are your best advocate for your health. And in order to improve your physical and mental well-being, you need to make the best decisions. Incorporating healthy habits becomes especially important as we age in order to ensure optimal health in our golden years. If you need to make some adjustments and aren’t sure where to start, let’s review some lifestyle changes that you can easily implement.
Incorporate Physical Exercise
Exercise is an important part of anyone’s health, regardless of age. As you get older, it is especially important to maintain your strength and balance, but it can be more difficult due to physical restrictions or fear of falling. While you want to be cautious and aware of your own limitations, there are lots of different exercise options available to you. For example, according to Livestrong, if you have hip issues, it’s best to avoid weight-bearing exercises like running and stair-climbing, but options like swimming and yoga are a safe, low-impact exercises that can contribute significantly to improved health.
Keep Your Brain Sharp
Maintaining your physical health also helps protect cognitive health, preventing decline and warding off diseases like dementia. And according to Psychology Today, becoming more physically active even later in life has still been shown to lower dementia risk. There are other ways to keep your brain sharp as you age as well. Strategy games like crossword puzzles and chess can help stimulate your brain, and even picking up a new hobby can be a great way to challenge yourself. Just like you exercise your body to keep it strong, it’s crucial to intentionally exercise your brain to keep it sharp.
Protect Your Mental Health
As seniors age, many who are struggling with ailments like limited mobility or chronic disease are susceptible to mental health issues like depression, which can severely reduce quality of life. Medication and counseling can both be valuable tools to combat depression. And lifestyle changes like a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and quality sleep will also help prevent and treat mental health issues, as does talking and engaging with friends and family. If you suspect that you’re suffering from depression, reach out to your counselor to discuss ways to address it.
Find Time for Friends
When their circle of friends grows smaller or when family isn’t nearby, many seniors are likely to suffer from the effects of isolation, which is becoming a serious health risk among older adults. That’s why staying involved is so important. Socializing is more than a fun activity, it directly benefits your health. Some studies have even shown that a larger social network results in improved cognitive ability and reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. The good news is there are plenty of opportunities for you to get out and spend time with friends. You can join a weekly bowling league or a bridge club; volunteer at your local soup kitchen or other outreach program; or call up your friends and family to invite them over for dinner.
Ensure Proper Healthcare Coverage
Often healthcare needs increase with age, and it’s important to ensure that you have proper healthcare insurance coverage. Most seniors over 65 qualify for Medicare, but not everything is covered under that plan. If you think your coverage is lacking, do your research to see what you have through your current provider. In some cases, it may be worth enrolling in a Medigap or even a Medicare Advantage plan so you have access to other benefits like vision, dental and enhanced prescription coverage. It’s best to compare costs and deductibles every year during the enrollment period so your benefits always match your needs.
In order to fully enjoy this wonderful chapter in your life, you want to strive for better health. Look to incorporate new lifestyle habits, but don’t feel like you have to make sweeping changes. Even a little bit at a time can add up. Before too long, these habits will be ingrained and you’ll be happy and healthier for years to come.