You want to know the secret to longevity? Healthy habits. Sure, there are some variables that are out of our control, but for the most part, the people who live the longest lead relatively healthy lifestyles. They have a positive outlook, they stay active, and they care about what they feed their bodies.
It takes just 30 days to form a habit, and one simple change can have a dramatic impact on your health.
Here are eight healthy habits for seniors:
1. Be Physically Active
Use it or lose it. Seniors who want to maintain mobility and independence as they age need to be physically active. Along with maintaining your balance, muscle tone and range of motion, exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and keep you happy.
When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins, nature’s feel-good chemicals, and we enjoy a natural stress relief.
On top of all of these benefits, exercise boosts your brain while lowering your risk of disability, chronic disease and falls. Most seniors also find that being active helps them sleep better at night. Insomnia is a common problem as we age, so staying active may help prevent it. A short walk every day can improve your health dramatically.
2. Kick Stress to the Curb
Stress is a silent killer, and it can also lead to negative thinking. Studies have shown that a positive outlook can help prevent heart disease, lower your blood pressure and even keep your weight under control.
People who live the longest tend to be more relaxed and have a better attitude towards life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let things go, and you’ll find that stress isn’t always hovering over your shoulder.
Stress can lead to anxiety, insomnia and disease, including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, asthma and more.
Find natural and healthy ways to alleviate stress. Exercise is one way, but you can also try meditation, yoga, mindfulness or immersing yourself in a hobby.
3. Stay Social
Socializing is an important part of staying healthy as you age. Surround yourself with positive friends and loved ones who are supportive and will be there when you need a shoulder to lean on.
Having a strong social support network can greatly improve the quality of your life by offering a sense of security and love.
Maintaining an active social life can also help keep stress at bay. Spending quality time with people you care about will help you let go of life’s troubles, even if only for a few hours.
4. Eat Healthy
You are what you eat. And as we age, it becomes even more important to fuel our bodies with nutritious, wholesome, healthy foods.
Good nutrition helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory issues, gastrointestinal disease and even some cancers.
Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins.
5. Never Stop Learning
Never stop challenging your brain and learning new things. Mental exercise improves cognitive reserve and lowers the risk of developing dementia as you age.
Try taking classes at your local community college, reading more educational books or even learning a new language. Whatever it is you learn, make sure that it’s a subject that you’re passionate about.
6. Sleep Well
Sleep gives your body time to rest and recover. If you’re not getting enough of it, your body will suffer both physically and mentally.
Seniors should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you aren’t getting enough sleep due to chronic snoring you should see your doctor as this can have very serious consequences to your health.
7. Visit the Doctor and Dentist Regularly
Even if you feel strong and healthy, it’s important to visit your doctor at least once a year. Regular check-ups can help spot health problems before they become serious issues and also help you take a preventative approach to your health.
Along with your general physician, you should also be seeing your dentist every six months. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can help prevent stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.
8. Manage Your Medications
If you’re taking medication, make sure that you understand the side effects and have a system in place to manage your dosages. Make sure that both you and your loved ones know about potential drug interactions, allergic reactions, symptoms and other potential issues.
Leading a healthy, stress-free lifestyle can boost longevity while improving your quality of life as you age.
Allie has worked in care facilities for the last 15 years providing mobility and health care to seniors of all skill levels. She is passionate about senior advocacy and is and loves to spend her free time in the outdoors.