Jason Lewis from Strongwell.org was kind enough to write the following guest article.
Nowadays, people are more aware than ever of the importance of nutrition, exercise, and self-care for good mental and physical health. For many older adults who grew up as part of a less health-focused generation, it can seem like they missed the boat on wellness.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Taking control of your health can be straightforward, and it is never too late to start doing it. No matter how old you are right now, you can benefit from implementing these practices into your routine to boost your quality of life.
It’s easy to feel like your body becomes less capable of regular exercise as you grow older, but this is simply not true. According to the National Institute on Aging, people tend to lose their mobility as they age not because of a natural deterioration of the body, but because they tend to become less active. It’s up to you to take a proactive attitude toward your health and to find the workouts that fit in with your lifestyle.
Though ailments like weak joints, back pain, and poor balance are all relatively common in older adults and can limit mobility, there are many forms of exercise that can accommodate this. Focus on low-impact workouts like yoga, walking, and strength training, take it slow at first, and respect your body’s limits. You will soon find yourself stronger and more energetic, as well as less prone to anxiety.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Much like preventing physical decline is a matter of keeping your body active rather an inevitable effect of aging, mental decline is also more about keeping yourself sharp. The long-accepted theory that our memory, alertness, and cognitive function is just destined to deteriorate as we get older now no longer holds true, and we are seeing evidence that a healthy lifestyle and an active mind could be the secret to staying sharp.
Consider your hobbies and how you like to spend your free time. Are you spending a lot of time doing passive activities, like watching TV? Any hobby that keeps your mind engaged is a great way to keep exercising your brain and to keep yourself in control. Some people like logic-based activities like puzzles, crosswords, and games, while others prefer creative practices like painting, crafting, and sculpting. Your golden years are a great time to reconnect with hobbies that you once loved or even try new things you’ve always been curious about.
Create Social Connections
Loneliness is one of the biggest health issues for seniors, many of which find themselves in old age isolated from their friends and families. According to Forbes, 20 to 30 percent of all older adults report feeling lonely, and a 2015 study positioned loneliness as a bigger factor in early mortality than obesity.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to actively combat loneliness. You can join a group based around a favorite hobby, sign up for an exercise class, or start volunteering somewhere in your local community. If you are nervous about facing these scenarios alone, there are plenty of organizations dedicated to helping you, such as A Little Help, which connects seniors with neighbors of all ages. You can also consider finding a roommate to help fight loneliness.
It’s easy to feel like your health is outside your control once you start getting older, but this isn’t the case. You still have the power to take control over your body and your mind and to help yourself live to a happy, fulfilling old age: all you have to do is stay proactive, positive, motivated, and commit to living a healthier lifestyle.