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Article by guest blogger Karen Weeks
Most of us want to live a more balanced, healthy lifestyle. However, many people feel uncertain about how to start. Older adults, in particular, might worry that it will be too difficult for them to take control of their health. If you or a loved one are a senior looking to live healthier, it’s never too late to start prioritizing your health.
Here are some ways to take care of your body, mind, and soul at any age:
Because our body gathers nutrients and energy from the foods we consume, it’s essential to eat balanced, healthy meals at any age. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Mediterranean diet is an ideal choice for preventing a variety of health conditions, ranging from dementia to obesity. By choosing nutritious fruits and vegetables, rather than red meat, sugar, or processed foods, you’ll strengthen your brain, heart, and blood cells. Talk to your doctor before starting any new diet, and consult with a local nutritionist or dietitian. Ask your health insurance company if you have questions about your coverage.
If you find yourself short on time or are struggling to cook healthy meals for yourself, consider the benefits of a local meal delivery service. As we age, making trips to the grocery store to buy healthy foods can be a bit more challenging. Having fresh food delivered directly to your door can reduce stress and save you time.
Even if you consume nutritious meals every day, you may still need some additional nutrients in your diet. One way to get these nutrients is to start taking a multivitamin. When deciding on a multivitamin, look for one that your body can absorb easily.
According to The New York Times, exercise keeps our bodies feeling young, literally making the aging heart “more youthful.” Of course, not all exercises are appropriate for all bodies. Seniors need to be particularly careful to avoid injuries. Always warm up with some gentle stretches before working out, and try to stick with low-impact physical activities like walking, swimming, Tai Chi, or chair yoga.
If you notice any pain during your workout, listen to your body and ease off. You don’t want to pull a muscle or cause yourself any chronic, long-term pain.
Depression, anxiety, and fear are quite common among older adults, according to the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Luckily, with some lifestyle changes, you can feel good — physically, mentally, and emotionally — at any age. In addition to diet and exercise, the University of Minnesota recommends quitting drinking, getting a full night’s sleep, and building strong relationships with supportive people.
Above all else, remember that depression doesn’t define you. Whether depression results from a prescription side effect or genetics, it’s not your fault. Even if depression lasts for weeks or months, it won’t last forever with proper treatment. Talk to your doctor or a trusted therapist about medications and other treatment options to ease your symptoms.
As you can see, it’s never too late to take control of your health. Even as a senior, you’ll benefit from more physical activity and a balanced diet. If you’re a smoker, your body will experience some benefits within 20 minutes of quitting. Healthcare is crucial throughout our lives, especially as we get older. With the right support and some healthy choices, you can be happy and thrive at any age.
Karen Weeks created Elder Wellness as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well.