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Tips for Taking the Tarnish Off Your Golden Years

 

You might be familiar with the expression that old age isn’t for sissies. Along with adding years, many people experience added health conditions and a decline in mental abilities. However, with some smart lifestyle changes, you can take control of your mental and physical health.

 

How Healthy Are You?

Americans are living longer than ever before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are living healthy lives during their golden years. Some studies show care for the elderly is reaching a crisis level, as aging and the health care industry are not on the same page. There are many health issues associated with old age, such as heart conditions, diabetes, and depression.

 

Depression can be particularly difficult to diagnose. Merck Manual notes that older people don’t express depression in the same way younger people do. Some of the signs of depression in the elderly include loss of interest in activities that they would normally enjoy, loss of energy, changes in appetite, and different sleeping patterns. These issues can contribute to physical health decline, and thus an ugly domino effect can develop. Thankfully, it’s never too late to engage in a healthy lifestyle. With a handful of good choices, you can enjoy good mental and physical health during your golden years.

 

Meet Nutritional Needs

Your nutritional needs change somewhat as you age. By selecting foods to support your body and mind, you can continue functioning optimally. AgingCare recommends a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids to fight inflammation, which could contribute to arthritis, heart disease, and cancer.  Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids include walnuts, flax seeds, fish, and canola oil. You should also ensure you consume sufficient calcium. Calcium helps keep your bones strong and can lower blood pressure. Also, make sure you limit sodium intake, as it can contribute to high blood pressure. And last but far from least, drink plenty of water; as we get older, we tend to not notice when our bodies are becoming dehydrated. It’s also very important to eat three meals a day, including breakfast, which many people tend to skip at any age.

 

Stay Active

Most of us recognize that exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, for older adults, it can be a key to maintaining a good quality of life. Some research reflects a sedentary lifestyle is linked with the decline of bodies and minds normally associated with aging. Exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels, improve heart function, strengthen bones and muscles, improve energy levels, boost self-confidence and enhance your social life.

 

If exercising is new to you, jumping into a fitness regimen in your senior years can seem daunting at best. However, as some experts suggest, a simple and easy plan helps keep your workout routine pleasant. For example, a walking program provides all the benefits you require, and you just need a pair of comfortable shoes to get started. Stay on level surfaces initially and go slowly, saving hills and speed for later. Another suggestion is to go swimming, which is easy on your joints, or do chair yoga exercises. The important thing is to increase your activity level gradually and keep your body moving. Consult your doctor when beginning a new workout plan, and don’t forget to schedule time for rest, which your body needs to repair after exercise.

 

Stay Connected

Sometimes, we underestimate the importance of our social lives. Some professionals feel that as you grow older, time with friends and family members becomes a vital part of healthy living. Nurturing those connections can help reduce cognitive, physical, and mental decline in older adults. People who stay socially active are more apt to be physically healthy, experiencing better immune function and less incidence of disease. They also enjoy less risk of stress, depression, and anxiety. Going for walks with your neighbor (don’t forget the sunscreen on those sunny days!), attending community events, hosting occasional parties, taking a class, and even hopping on social media can contribute to a healthier life. No matter what form it takes for you, ensure you maintain a substantive social life.  

 

Good as Gold

You can improve your quality of life with a few wise decisions. Eat properly, stay active, and maintain your relationships. Smart lifestyle choices can mean making your golden years your best ones yet!