Staying healthy is something we start thinking about early on in life. As you get older, your body experiences some changes that require you to incorporate different habits to keep going at top speed. Here’s what you need to know about healthy aging as you achieve landmark ages in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond. We’ll give you six tips to stay active, lean, and make the most of your retirement years.
1. Eat a Healthy, Well-balanced Diet
Eating a nutrient-dense diet is important at every age, but later in life, it can reduce your risk for developing some of the scarier chronic diseases. Focus on healthy foods like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to ward off osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.
Try to avoid junk food like soda, chips, cookies, and alcohol as they are loaded with calories and preservatives. They can cause inflammation in your joints, and eating too many of these treats will also make you gain weight.
Finally, stay away from trans fats and saturated fats that you find in highly processed foods, margarine, and fatty red meats. Studies show they can increase your cholesterol levels and contribute to health issues, especially in adults over 60.
2. Stay Socially Active
Being socially active with friends, neighbors, or in your community, nourishes your brain in your golden years. Those connections not only give you something to look forward to, and they also provide a purpose that will keep you plugged into the outside world and allow you to enjoy each day fully.
If you’re looking for a way to get more involved, check out local senior centers for daily and weekly activities. You’ll find things like card tournaments, movie nights, potlucks, day trips, and other social events where you can connect with other retirees in your area.
3. Listen to Your Doctor
Whether you’re eight or 80, chances are good you don’t particularly like going to the doctor. However, as you age, it becomes more important than ever to go to your check-up appointments and keep an eye on your physical health.
Be sure to do all of your recommended health screenings, and take your medications as they are prescribed to keep in tip top shape.
4. Keep Moving
There are dozens of proven health benefits of exercise, and some studies suggest that no one will benefit more from regular movement than active older adults.
Not only will regular exercise help you maintain your independence and keep your body strong enough to live on your own without the risk of falling and breaking something, but it also reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. Conditions like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes can be kept at bay with regular exercise.
The movement will maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and can even control the swelling and pain that occurs if you develop arthritis.
The best news? If you’re not already active, it’s not too late to start. As little as five to ten minutes a day of gentle movement that raises your heart rate and gets you a little sweaty will have positive health benefits.
You can go for a walk around your neighborhood, play with your grandkids, or look for an exercise class near you. Senior centers, YMCA’s, and other fitness facilities often offer group classes specific to retirees that include movements that are both safe and effective.
5. Get Enough Rest
Your sleep needs may change as you age, but it’s still important to get enough rest. Poor sleep quality or not getting enough shut-eye can lead to depression, and even worse, it affects your coordination and may make you more likely to have a fall.
If you’re having issues sleeping at night, talk with your doctor as many treatments and remedies can help.
6. Exercise Your Brain
Keeping your body active as you age is important, as is regularly exercising your brain. Studies show that seniors who did 12 one-hour sessions of cognitive training stayed sharper over a period of ten years. What does this mean for an average Joe or Jane like you? If you incorporate brain training into your daily lifestyle, you’ll keep your mind in top shape as you age.
It’s easy to add activities that will boost your memory to the day. Try doing a crossword puzzle, to remember your grocery list without writing it down, or to learn a new activity or sport. By introducing new material to your mind on a regular basis, like the rules of golf, for example, you’ll keep your brain tissue healthy for years to come.