While getting older may come with a few drawbacks, it’s certainly nothing to dread.
Surveys have found that seniors tend to be happier than the rest of society, possibly because they have more free time to engage in activities that promote well-being. The secret to a happy, fulfilling retirement may not be much of a secret at all. You too can thrive in your senior years by taking control of your mental and physical health with some smart lifestyle choices.
Make the Most of Your Medicare
Good healthcare coverage will give you access to the services you need to stay on top of your health. While Medicare is helpful, it only provides bare-bones health coverage. That’s why it’s important to assess all your options. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage in areas that Original Medicare does not, like vision and dental care. Medicare Advantage plans, from providers like Aetna, may also include access to special wellness programs. Learn more about your options to find out how you can benefit.
Diversify Your Exercise Routine
If you ask any healthy senior about their secret to vitality, their answer will likely involve exercise. Unfortunately, less than a third of people aged 65-74 are considered physically active. Did you know that not exercising can be worse for your health than smoking, heart disease, and diabetes? A sedentary lifestyle is extremely risky, especially for seniors who face a higher risk of disease.
According to Verywell Fit, all adults are recommended to engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days every week and strength training two to three days per week. Strength training is an often forgotten but crucial element in any exercise routine. Strength exercises will help you maintain muscle mass while supporting your bone density to prevent vulnerability.
On top of this, seniors are encouraged to add regular flexibility and balance exercises to their weekly routine — these will help you enjoy your daily activities while reducing your risk of falls. Stretching can also help with arthritis and back pain management by improving your joint range of motion and relieving muscle tightness. For an added healthy boost to the bones and joints, seniors can benefit from Plum Dragon’s Ancestors Advanced concentrated herbal formula. Packed full of the strongest Chinese herbs, this formula is an ideal treatment for joint pain and arthritis.
Engage in Mental Activities
Mental activities are to your mind what physical activity is to your body. For seniors, engaging in a range of mental activities will lower the risk of mental health problems, like dementia. Avoid gimmicky brain-training games. According to MedicalNewsToday, these don’t really translate to real-world skills. Instead, engage in activities you enjoy! Pick up a new, challenging hobby. Get creative with arts and crafts. Learn an instrument or a new language. If you like to play games, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, board games, chess, and cards are all solid mind exercises. Just like with physical exercise, try to vary your mental activities to keep your mind sharp.
Develop Your Social Network
One final thing that most healthy seniors have in common is a rich social network. Loneliness can be extremely damaging to your overall health, increasing your risk of mental illness, cognitive decline, and physical problems. Fortunately, a regular dose of socialization can help. Stay in touch with friends and family, join local groups, and participate in community events.
If you’re living in a place where it’s difficult to engage with others on a regular basis, consider moving closer to family or into a city where you will be surrounded by social opportunities. If moving is out of the question, get a dog! Dogs provide endless companionship and can give meaning to our lives. Plus, a dog will encourage you to get on your feet and get active more often.
Taking control of your health will be easier if you incorporate several small, healthy strategies into your daily routine, rather than taking on massive lifestyle changes. Every day, try to find something specific you can do for your health. Whatever it is, you’ll be taking an impactful step toward long-term happiness and vitality.
Written by: Jason Lewis
An interesting post Jason. I am an Australian born in Oct 1953.. As a senior citizen and a person well experienced and researched in this subject, l can state that most definitely what you outline in your article is true. As an Alternative natured Martial Arts Movement minded analyst/choreographer since 1970 and a person who has recovered from injury a number of times over the years, l feel to add that it is important that we do not consistently restate the same behaviours (always doing the same movements) lest we as a consequence, lose our God given natural capacity for free movement. Vitality is an experience that comes from within. The development of core strength through tension and relaxation, reminding oneself to enjoy oneself during every activity, is for older aged persons especially l suggest, of far more value mentally, emotionally and biomechanically, than only engaging fitness natured aerobic activities. Fitness fades quickly once regular exercises stop, however ones appreciation of life (though greatly enhanced by youthful vigor) does not require the same levels of fitness for us all. As a theater art/martial arts minded trainer, l suggest that ‘contact with nature and freeing up ones movement by changing how one relates to random unstructured, uneven terrain, is of vital importance. In closing l feel to add that Our Earth is a resonant field and it’ s a known experience that being in Mother Nature recharges our batteries.. We often forget that all life is a resonant frequency interacting with itself. My advice is simplistic, remove your shoes and feel the Energy of our Earth… Even just sit on a park bench. Walk on the Earth. Touch trees and grass, brush past foliage, put your hands in the soil while gardening, bend and stretch and laugh and smell and feel engaged with life. Touch listen and deeply breathe with nature and smile as you entertain yourself. Free movement comes with freeform random action or our how life forms loosely interact with life. Focus to purpose while we feel entertained, engages and continuously stimulates the mind and naturally develops health in us all.. As a one time injury restricted person l know that it is not often possible for everyone to engage in core strength training with weights or in aerobic fitness routines… My feedback Jason, as a trainer of people in biomechanical action for many years… is not all of us need to excercise eh mate. I trust you find my input offers support to your blog. Cheers, J.P.