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Healthy Aging for Seniors

Seniors doing Yoga

Healthy Aging Tips For Seniors

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control place the average life expectancy in the United States at 78.6 years. But whether you reach that benchmark or live far beyond it, healthy aging for seniors means staying active, engaged, and free from decline. The way to achieve that, it turns out, is to lead a physically active, socially engaged lifestyle today.

Research has consistently shown that specific lifestyle behaviors are associated with longer life — regular exercise, staying engaged with friends and family, and abstaining from smoking in particular. The good news?  It’s never too late to start leading a healthy lifestyle for the elderly.

Change keeps coming. The key is to adapt.

If you’re not as physically active as you were at age 20, don’t despair … no one is. But that doesn’t mean your lifestyle has to become progressively sedentary. A lack of physical activity and regular exercise at any age can lead to problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and heart attack, and poor quality of life. A healthy lifestyle for the elderly translates to leading a healthy lifestyle now and maintaining it over time. Healthy aging for seniors also involves emotional resilience in coping with loss that will visit each of us throughout our lives.

Nutrition fuels your life.

There’s simply no ignoring the fact that a finely tuned machine like the human body can’t perform optimally without a proper diet. Healthy eating is essential at any age, but as we grow older, a slower metabolism, changes in appetite, and our interest in and ability to prepare meals can each affect how well we eat. This, in turn, will affect our weight, sleep patterns, energy level, mental acuity, mood, and a range of overall health indicators.

The basics will always apply — foods high in fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and lean protein should be part of your healthy diet. Try to eliminate processed foods. Be mindful of portion control. Drink plenty of water every day. Our bodies are mostly water, and staying hydrated keeps energy levels up and is good for every organ in the body, including the brain and smooth, clear skin. 

Dining is also a social event. No one should eat alone on an ongoing basis. If you find that your current living situation leaves you on your own to plan, prepare, and consume your meals with no one to share the experience, you must find a way to rectify that. Reach out to friends and family to join you for meals on a regular basis. You might care to read more on how friendships can improve your health here. And if changing your residence to a more socially accessible setting — like a senior living community — is really what’s needed, you should consider doing that.

Senior woman working out with dumbells

Is it possible to stay physically active over time? 

Actually yes, but you have to make the effort. Exercise and fitness don’t have to be a grind, and the dividends they pay may surprise you. Start with something simple you enjoy, such as walking the dog or gardening. This will get you out in the fresh air and help keep you motivated while conditioning your body to activity. Next, look into no-impact forms of exercise like stretching, swimming, Tai Chi or practicing yoga. Look here for 8 benefits of Tai Chi for seniors. These activities will aid your overall conditioning and open the door to even more active, socially connected activities like cycling and golfing. Try to partner up with a friend as you explore these activities. You might even enroll in a class together.  

Exercise and healthy aging for seniors

  • BUILDS PHYSICAL ENDURANCE
  • PROMOTES BETTER DELIVERY OF OXYGEN AND NUTRIENTS TO TISSUES
  • HELPS MAINTAIN HEALTHY CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
  • FLOODS THE BODY WITH ENDORPHINS
  • HELPS REDUCE CHRONIC PAIN
  • INCREASES METABOLISM TO FAT
  • IMPROVES MUSCLE MASS AND BONE DENSITY
  • CAN LEAD TO BETTER SLEEP
  • IMPROVES FLEXIBILITY, BALANCE AND POSTURE
  • HELPS PREVENT MEMORY LOSS
  • BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

senior cycling

The bigger picture.

Change challenges healthy aging for everyone. The particular challenge for older adults is the volume of transitions that continue to build throughout life — grown children moving  away, the loss of family members and friends, the end of our working career, the loss of a spouse, declining health, and the loss of independence. It’s natural to feel these losses. And it’s imperative to balance them with something positive.

Healthy aging for seniors means continually reinventing yourself as you move through the decades. It means finding new things to enjoy, adapting to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones. You’re  stronger and more resilient than you may realize. These healthy aging tips for seniors can help you maintain your physical and emotional health, whatever your age or circumstance.

9 TIPS FOR HEALTHY AGING

  • Eat and drink healthy.
  • Move more, sit less.
  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Get regular checkups.
  • Know your family history.
  • Be aware of changes in brain health.
  • Learn to cope with change.
  • Find meaning and joy.
  • Stay connected.

Have you considered independent senior living?

Sierra Winds in Peoria, Arizona, is a nondenominational Life Plan Community that welcomes seniors looking to expand their day-to-day experiences. Independent living in the community helps residents connect with friends and feel healthier. It opens the door to healthy aging  through a maintenance-free lifestyle of connection, engagement and wellness. 

This November, Sierra Winds will host two webinars on the subject of aging well. New York Times journalist and author John Leland will talk about choosing happiness, and Dr. Mark Carlson, board-certified geriatrician, will discuss takeaways from healthy aging in the blue zones — geographic regions where environment and culture help people live long, healthy lives.

We invite you to log on to one or both webinars, and to investigate the vibrant lifestyle of Sierra Winds — in person or virtually. Just call 623-738-2962 or contact us online and we’ll take it from there.