A healthy life always starts with a healthy attitude and outlook. You must balance any sense of loss or disappointment with positive inputs such as finding new things to enjoy, learning to adapt to changes in your body and your surroundings and staying active – both physically and socially as you remain connected to your community, your parish and your loved ones. Keep in mind that you are stronger and more resilient than you may think! And a good laugh with a sense of humor is the best medicine for any ailment, and keeps your attitude positive and upbeat.
Here’s some ways to get started on finding new things to enjoy:
- Pick up a new hobby. Be comfortable within your capabilities and reasonable in your expectations.
- Learn something new – an instrument, foreign language or new game.
- Volunteer at your parish or at a community organization.
- Take a class at your local community college.
- Travel somewhere that you’ve never been to – explore new places.
- Get out of the house and socialize!
Pick one or do something else – you’ll find the experience to be most valuable in maintaining a positive outlook on life – finding continued purpose and meaning.
A positive outlook on life contributes to your physical health and wellbeing.
Many studies have concluded that regular exercise is the number one contributor to longevity and is a critical factor in living a higher quality of life. Exercise keeps you strong and agile, helps you prevent falls and can help eliminate the chronic pain of arthritic joints. It has also been shown that people who exercise regularly, have a better quality of sleep and it gives your mental health a boost. Exercise keeps your body in motion and allows for it to do what it is designed for – TO MOVE!
Allow yourself to develop the habit of exercise every day to some degree or for some part of your body. The biggest hurdle to exercise is motivation – so convince yourself that it must be a part of your daily routine and find enjoyment in what you choose to do as exercise. And remember, always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Be safe and enjoy – you’ll find that you never felt so good.
Here’s some simple tips to begin your daily exercise routine:
Find an activity you enjoy and that will keep you motivated.
Find a group class at a local health club or gym
Or if you prefer to exercise alone, perhaps walking or swimming is for you.
Start off slow. Remember you’re not as young as you used to be! Just a few minutes a day will get you started and into the habit of exercise.
Slowly increase your time and intensity of exercise. This will help you avoid any injury.
Listen to your body and add or cut back if any new aches/pain develop.
Walking is a great way to start an exercise routine. It’s one of the best ways to stay fit. And you can do it anywhere. Be sure to wear a good supportive athletic shoe a sneaker with arch support and shock absorbing insoles.
It’s always good to exercise with a partner. (You keep each other motivated and the social interaction benefits are priceless.)
Nutrition plays a very important role in your overall health all throughout your life. It is true, “You are what you eat”. But as you age, your body changes and your dietary habits must adapt to these changes. Your metabolism decreases, causing your intake calories to burn off slower. Also, you might experience changes in taste and smell along with a slower rate of digestion and this can affect your appetite. The key is to eat a “balanced” diet. Throughout the day eat enough calories to maintain your optimal weight, or sometimes if you need to lose some of those extra pounds, reduce your calories accordingly. And so always check with your doctor before you make changes to your diet to be sure that any medication you might be on will not be affected by what you eat.
Here’s some simple tips to follow for eating well as you age:
As always eat plenty of high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The fiber will keep your digestive system running smooth and give you more energy during your day.
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. (But be careful if you tend to retain fluids.) Plenty of fluids will keep your urinary system flowing smoothly as well as keep you energetic and sharp mentally.
Avoid the empty calories of high fatty foods and processed sugars. Go easy on the fruit drinks and soda, cake and candy. Enjoy them only during “Special Events”.
If you have the time, make more meals at home. You can control the ingredients and make it a fun project to enjoy your meals, even if your appetite has decreased. And invite others to join you. It’s always better to break bread with a friend.
Set aside time to eat. Avoid the “fast food” experience. Make your meal an enjoyable, relaxing time to connect with yourself and other.
Here are some simple tips to help improve the quality of your sleep as you age:
Go to bed as soon as you feel tired. Even if that seems earlier than you are used to.
Before bedtime, wind down with something relaxing, like a warm bath, read a book or magazine, or listen to some soft music.
Make sure that your bedroom environment is proper for good quality sleep. Keep it dark, quiet and a little cool. These conditions are optimal to allow for more uninterrupted sleep.
Try to wake up each day at about the same time. This will regulate your sleep pattern and allow you adequate sleep each night. It is recommended that most older adults get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Staying active during the day will ensure that you feel tired at night. If you’re inactive, you’ll feel drowsy all day and this will cause you to not feel tired at night.