Staying Healthy and Happy as You Age Can Feel Like Quite a Challenge. As we get older, the natural effects of aging become harder to shake off. For instance, you likely won’t be able to move as well as you once could, or you may find that it takes you a little extra time to finish puzzles or logic games.
For many, this realization can lead to some negative feelings — but it doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, there are many ways that seniors can maintain their physical health and happiness as they begin to enter their golden years. All it takes is the proper guidance, and a little positive thinking.
Courtesy of our friends at MedicareInsurance.com, your one-stop-shop for researching and comparing effective Medicare health plans, here are five great ways for seniors to boost their physical and mental health and wellness.
1. Regular Exercise
For many, this may seem like a no brainer. Still, many older individuals find the thought of regular exercise intimidating when considering the increased difficulty when it comes to physical movement. What may surprise you though, is that this is more perception than reality. Not to mention, the prospect is all relative.
The reality is, regular exercise is one of the most important things to incorporate into your lifestyle as you age, and doing so will actually increase the physical abilities that you perceive to be weakening, including things like balance, elasticity, and coordination.
Most experts recommend getting 2.5 to 5 hours of physical exercise per week. With that in mind, however, it’s important not to try to bite off more than you can chew. That is to say, don’t start off with the 5k or the deadlift competition right away. A simple walk through the park or a few reps with three pound dumbbells is great for beginners or for those just getting back into a physical fitness routine.
Additionally, scientists are constantly finding new links between regular physical exercise and mental health benefits for senior citizens. This is attributed to exercise promoting the release of endorphins, “feel good” chemicals that stimulate happiness and joy in the brain.
2. Try Some Gardening
The benefits of nature on both the physical and mental health of seniors has been studied extensively. Multiple studies suggest that spending time outdoors has a tremendous positive effect on mental health. Other studies have shown that actually getting down and dirty (through gardening of course) is also a great way to boost physical and mental wellness.
The concept is actually quite simple when you think about it: You’re getting exercise that helps you boost those important endorphins, and knowing that you’re helping play a part in revitalizing mother nature can be awesome for self-esteem. Whether you’re simply growing flowers to improve your landscape, or you take part in a public garden that grows food to help sustain your community, gardening can help you vastly improve mental health.
On the physical side of things, gardening is exercise that doesn’t really feel like exercise. You’re moving around and getting plenty of fresh air, not realizing that you’re incorporating complex movements such as squats, curls, and bends, all of which help you maintain mobility. If you want a proper routine that’s rarely boring and always enriching, gardening is one of the best forms of physical exercise you can get.
3. Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Although it’s another point that feels like it’s been drilled to death, it’s impossible to overlook the importance of maintaining a healthy diet when it comes to staying physically fit. For many, it’s very easy to lose track of the types of fuel we are putting into our bodies, and this is especially true for seniors. Still, maintaining a well-balanced, healthy diet not only helps you maintain great physical shape. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also one of the best ways to improve mental health.
There are numerous foods that have been shown to have a positive mental health for seniors; and no, it’s not all chocolate bars and cheeseburgers. Some of the healthier options that have been shown to help improve both physical and mental health include:
- Brown rice
- Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn, and peas)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, and wild fowl)
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds
When it comes to dieting as a senior though, it’s incredibly important to consult with your doctor before deciding to make any drastic changes. Many seniors lose their ability to naturally absorb certain nutrients and vitamins as they get older. For these reasons, you should always take the time to work with your healthcare professional to decide on a diet that’s perfect for your body’s needs.
4. Socialize with Others
Many seniors find it lonely as they get older. With the kids grown up and out leading their own lives, and with many friends having drifted apart, it can be quite mentally taxing to socialize as an elder. In fact, depression and anxiety are among the most common conditions that plague older individuals, and these issues can carry detrimental effects in many ways, including increased isolation and irritability.
Remaining socially active in your golden years is truly crucial to your mental health. If you live in a retirement community or a nursing facility, making time to take part in community activities can help you break out of your shell and stay connected to those who matter. Making sure your family and friends come to visit is equally important, as this helps you maintain a link to the ones you love.
If you live independently, going to your local senior center can help you combat feelings of isolation. By taking the classes offered to your local senior community, you give yourself the opportunity to make new friends and connect with others.
Few things are better for mental health for seniors than maintaining a social life. No one wants to feel alone and forgotten. The more social you are in your golden years, the better you’re most likely to feel.
5. Find the Proper Resources for Healthcare
It may sound cheesy, but it’s nearly impossible to underestimate the importance that having regular access to ideal healthcare resources for your lifestyle can be; especially as a senior citizen.
At MedicareInsurance.com, licensed insurance agents are always ready to help you sort through the myriad of healthcare options that are available in your community in an effort to find one that truly meets your needs.
Whether you’re looking for an Original Medicare plan with a stellar network of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare resources, or a Medicare Advantage plan that can be tailored specifically to your healthcare needs and values, MedicareInsurance.com is a wonderful resource.
To get started exploring your op[tions today, don’t hesitate to contact their licensed insurance agents at (800) 950-0608.