With the dawn of this new year, many people feel inspired to make positive changes in their life - to make resolutions, and to hopefully stick to them. For all ages, the New Year is a time for a fresh start. If you are an older individual and have decided to work on getting or staying healthy - good for you! In this blog we will focus on ways you can improve your health and feel good all year long.
When we think of healthy New Years’ resolutions we often think of improving or increasing our physical fitness activities. Physical fitness is possible, no matter your age or health impairments. Start off slow- walk leisurely, even ten minutes a day is a great start! As you build stamina, try to aim to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week.
Other fun, gentle ideas to get started on your fitness journey include, water aerobics, tai chi, chair exercises and yoga. Check with your insurance provider to see if you are eligible to join a SilverSneakers program and get connected with online or in-person classes.
As we get older, we still need to be eating healthy! Try to incorporate a well balanced diet into your life. Make sure to focus on leafy, cruciferous vegetables, lean proteins, beans, whole grains and fruit. As tempting as they may be, try to reduce the amount of sweets and fats you consume, attempt to find healthier alternatives.
Keep Your Mind Active
Challenging your brain is an important aspect of overall health for seniors. Regularly ‘working out’ your brain can help strengthen cognitive skills, as well as reducing the chances of memory loss.
There are many ways you can go about exercising your mind. You can enjoy completing jigsaw puzzles, word searches, sudoku or crosswords. You can look into community education programs that could offer free classes to those of us who are over the age of 65. The possibilities are wide, so find something you enjoy doing, and remember, the more you use your brain, the better it works!
Try Something New
This is the time to step outside of your comfort zone. Make new friends, watch a new TV series, learn a new language, travel (virtually) to a new location - the possibilities are endless! Being adventurous doesn’t always have to be dangerous - you can achieve this goal all from the comfort of your own home.
Connect with Your Healthcare Provider
In a perfect world, we should be seeing our primary care physician once a year for a routine physical, typically scheduled around one’s birthday. With the start of this New Year, schedule an appointment, or verify one you have previously scheduled. Start thinking of questions or concerns you’d like to bring up with your doctor.
With one in three older adults falling each year, and falls being the leading cause of injury in those 65+, it is vital you put preventing falls on your resolution list this year. There are many different steps you can take to decrease your chances of falling. Get in touch with your healthcare provider to see if any medications you are taking could affect your balance. If you work on strength building exercises, that may also help with your mobility. Take rugs out of your home that could move causing you to slip and fall. Look into having handrails installed in your bathroom as an added safety step.
Get your ZZZZs
Older adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night in order to feel and live their best healthy life. Try to avoid those daytime cat naps which may prevent you from sleeping better later on. If you have trouble falling and staying asleep, contact your doctor, or visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website for support.
In this high tech world there are so many ways to stay connected. We can make resolutions to continue to strengthen the bonds with those we care about. We can also use these resources to get in touch with old friends we haven’t heard from in ages. If you tend to be a bit of a homebody, try to make it a point to get in touch with someone, whether it be a phone call, quick text or email.
Focus on Your Overall Health
These resolutions are all suggestions. Make whatever improvements you feel are necessary to improve your life. And remember - you don’t need to make changes just on New Years. If you feel motivated you can make positive adjustments any time of the year!