With continued research and advancements in medicine, people are living longer than ever. However, for many aging adults, simply living isn’t enough: they want to live well and enjoy their golden years! Fortunately, seniors can become their best selves as they progress in life. Here are five tips to help older adults live their best lives no matter their age.
1. Stay Active
Regular physical activity keeps the body and mind working at its best. The CDC states that exercise boosts the immune system, improves heart health, and increases overall strength and stamina. Physical activity also relieves anxiety, improves sleep quality, and releases mood-boosting endorphins. Even further, regular exercise can reduce the fall risk in older adults by improving their balance and coordination. From walking to gardening, find an activity that you enjoy. Aim for about 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to reap the extensive benefits.
2. Find Purpose
No matter your age, everyone wants to feel useful and to have purpose in their life. Finding your purpose can mean different things to different people, so a bit of self-reflection is likely needed. Consider volunteering with an organization that you’re passionate about. Or, seek a bigger role in raising your grandchildren. Take time to identify what gives your life meaning and what ultimately makes you happy.
3. Try Something New
When Ernestine Shepherd went swimsuit shopping at age 56, she knew it was time to try something new. In an effort to lose weight, she began working out and eventually hired a personal trainer at age 71. Just seven months later, she won her first bodybuilding competition. Shepherd, now 84, found her purpose in fitness: she continues to lead exercise classes and run marathons!
Ms. Shepherd should be an example and inspiration that trying something new can be challenging at first, but can be hugely rewarding over time. Further, her success proves that it’s never too late to start something new! The human brain has an incredible ability to learn and master new skills regardless of age. Unfortunately, older adults often lack the confidence to try new activities. Try physical hobbies like yoga or dance classes to improve balance and mobility. Or find a creative outlet like knitting or painting to manage stress and boost mental health. No matter the activity, try new things with an open mind: you might be surprised where you find your purpose.
4. Fuel Your Body
It’s probably no surprise that Ernestine Shepherd didn’t just spend time working out: what she did outside of the gym, particularly what she ate, played a role in her success. A well-balanced diet is a key part of staying healthy as you age. Eating well can help you maintain a healthy weight, stay energized, and lower the risk of developing chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 older adults suffers from malnutrition. As you age, be sure to eat a variety of foods rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Avoid foods with excess sugars, fats, and salt. Additionally, speak with your healthcare provider about tailoring your diet to your unique needs. Overall, aim to fuel your body with a properly to keep you up and running at your best.
5. Stay Connected
After retirement and as they grow older, people often fall into a less social lifestyle. Unfortunately, research shows that adults who are isolated and lonely tend to live shorter lives and are at an increased risk for dementia. Fight social isolation by staying connected to friends and family. Consider moving into a senior living community: you’ll undoubtedly make new friends in no time. Or, utilize technology to connect with loved ones daily regardless of distance. From a simple text message to a video call, maintaining those connections can help fight depression and improve your overall health. Even further, keeping up with the changing technology helps keep your mind sharp and active.
Improve Your Quality of Life at Any Age
As you age, having a positive outlook on life is imperative for your overall well-being. Older adults should feel just as satisfied and fulfilled with their lives as they did in their younger years. Find what makes you happy later in life and don’t be afraid to try something new! Remain active, eat a balanced diet, stay connected to loved ones, and don’t forget to laugh: laughter really is the best medicine! In particular, laughing lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increases happiness, and can improve overall health. With a positive attitude and the right steps to keep you feeling great, there is no doubt that you can become your best self at any age!
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