For most people, remaining active and vital well into their senior years is imperative, yet sometimes factors hold them back. Illness, disease, injuries, and the toll of age on the body all come into play when trying to decide how active one can be. And while it’s important to take those things into consideration before starting a new exercise regimen or daily routine, you should remember that staying active can help lengthen your life and make you feel better in the process.
There are many things you can do to feel ten to twenty years younger than your age, including not letting that number predetermine your activities. Just because an individual is considered a senior, that doesn’t mean they will automatically fall into ill health or become forgetful. The keys are preventative care and healthy living. Here are some tips on how to do both.
Remaining active in the community and staying social with friends is a big part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Set a night every week to spend time with the people you’re closest to. This can include going to the movies, forming a book club, taking in a concert, or going out to dinner. Whatever the activity, make sure it’s something you genuinely enjoy. Happiness is also a key part of vitality, as is taking part in activities that make you feel younger than your age. One UK study showed that feeling younger might actually add years onto your life.
"Self-perceived age reflects appraisals of health, physical limitations, and well-being in later life. Older people typically feel younger than their chronological age, and it is thought that those who feel younger than their actual age have reduced mortality,” says the study.
Make daily exercise a habit
It’s difficult for some to get down a workout routine, especially if there is an illness or injury to consider. But in many cases, exercise can be beneficial for most health issues when done correctly. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you and work out a plan to carve out time from your day to fit it in. Long walks can be perfect, as they don’t require too much physically and can be done with other people if you prefer. Just remember to stay hydrated, especially in summer months, and wear comfortable, supportive shoes.
Get a pet
Many people don’t know about the benefits of having a pet, yet they can be extremely helpful in keeping owners happy. Some studies have even shown that petting a dog can lower your blood pressure!
If you don’t think you’re ready for the responsibility of owning a pet, consider boarding one. You could be earning money while you take care of a sweet animal from the comfort of your own home for a few days.
As we get older, our bodies lose nutrients more easily, so it’s important to replenish these by maintaining a healthy diet. Pack your plate with whole grains, proteins, and a rainbow of fresh fruits and veggies, and steer clear of caffeine and fatty foods.
Jim Vogel created ElderAction.org along with his wife after they became caregivers for their aging parents. The site is dedicated to promoting senior health and providing valuable information to seniors and their caregivers to help ensure our nation’s seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years.