When you take a long-term view to life, you soon understand that living a healthier lifestyle provides multiple rewards. Not only will you enjoy a higher quality of life and the ability to share that with your spouse, family and friends, but you are more likely to save money on health care costs through keeping in better shape.
By proactively taking the right steps, you can help yourself avoid the often-assumed challenges of senior living, such as chronic disease and disability. Instead, you can enjoy a happy and fulfilling retirement. Choosing to age in a healthy way can lead to longer independence and a longer life.
To do so, most experts on aging recommend taking a holistic approach to wellness by being conscious of incorporating activities that enhance the following four components of your life: nutritional, physical, intellectual and social. So, the following are several tips to help you pursue an active, healthy lifestyle to incorporate those components as you age into your golden years.
You want to start with one of the most important steps: choosing nutritious, delicious food to fuel your body. One of your goals should always be to rely on a well-balanced, nourishing diet to help you avoid potentially dangerous and costly health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high-cholesterol and heart disease.
Well-rounded nutritious meals also ensure that seniors are consuming foods that furnish the vitamins, nutrients and energy necessary to enjoy daily activities and pursue a healthy lifestyle. So, your diet should feature a variety of lean meats, fish, vegetables, whole grains and fibers. Stick to healthy meals and snacks, and make sure you maintain portion control and avoid overeating. Keeping hydrated helps your body cleanse itself of toxins and hydrates your skin, so drink plenty of water or ice tea, for example, and avoid soft drinks or sugar-laden selections.
Try cooking your own meals, and think about reducing alcohol consumption and eliminating cigarettes altogether.
Exercise and physical activity
The next step is to make sure you keep yourself moving. One thing to remember is it is never too late to start exercising, even if you've never really done much in the past. Find activities that you enjoy doing, especially low-impact exercises, such as walking, biking or swimming, that you will be more likely to keep doing for the rest of your life. Maybe try a yoga class to keep yourself flexible. Many yoga schools offer special classes for seniors. Even as little activity as 15 to 30 minutes a day can lead to significant improvements in your well-being.
Just as important for seniors are activities that keep your brain fit and healthy. Again, find mentally challenging things that you'll want to do on a regular basis, from crossword puzzles to learning a new language that will help you when you travel. Visit your local senior centers, too, to learn about the courses and workshops they offer. Some colleges and universities offer free classes to seniors. Going green by taking up gardening or expanding the flower or vegetable beds that you have are also productive ways to enhance your health.
Another great suggestion here is to put more time into favorite hobbies or take up new ones that will keep you engaged and having fun while stimulating those neurons and synapses too!
Some of the most important activities seniors should maintain are things that keep them socially active. Whether that's joining a church, synagogue or social club or traveling with friends who share interests, it's important to interact with other people who share your interests, which frequently leads to long-lasting relationships with like-minded folks.
The key for all of these components of healthy living is to find the foods, exercises or activities that you thoroughly enjoy and will want to keep doing for the rest of your happy, healthy life!