Improving our health and well-being has many benefits, no matter what age or stage of life we are at. Better physical health often leads to better mental health, warding off depression, fatigue, and supporting us to remain actively involved in life. A few small and easy lifestyle changes can improve your overall health and increase your zest for life.
You are what you eat
While not a literal phrase, what we eat does have a massive impact on how we feel physically and mentally. Our digestive systems slow as we age, meaning what once may have been a healthy diet, can become less so as we age. Making healthy choices when we shop can support healthier eating throughout the week. Increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can support a healthier digestive system, as can drinking plenty of water and fluids to stop feeling thirsty or becoming dehydrated. It’s never too late to learn how to cook healthy meals from scratch; it’s also beneficial to learn a new skill as we age.
Sleep is as important as diet
Getting enough sleep, quality sleep, is just as important as what we choose to eat. As we age, our sleeping habits change. However, it is just as important to get enough shut-eye (around 7 – 8 hours for most aged 65 or older) and ensure we cycle through the stages of sleep too. Ensuring you get the right amount of sleep can even reduce the chances of developing dementia and other mental health issues as you age.
While you may be less inclined to run a marathon or take up gymnastics in your later years, exercise is still important for overall health. Regular exercise is beneficial for our minds and bodies. As well as preventing heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, regular exercise can increase cognitive function, mood, and even our social lives!
Low impact exercise is perfect for people with limited mobility and pain. Exercise can also help to improve these conditions. Water aerobics, tai chi, and swimming are all great low impact exercises that can improve physical and mental health.
Keeping links with friends, family, and social groups help us to remain connected with life, support better mental health, and give meaning to our lives. Our need for human connection is just as strong as we age as it is in our earlier years. Maintaining social connections reduces stress, depression, and anxiety while improving self-esteem, fitness, and even lifespan!
Do something for someone
Volunteering once you reach a time in your life when you have the time to help a cause you care about is a great way to improve your overall health. While our younger years may be filled with a career, raising a family or both, our later years give us enough time to give something back. In doing so, we benefit ourselves greatly. Improvements in memory, speech, feelings of happiness, and lowered depression can be gained from volunteering just 3 -4 hours of time each week.
Find a furry companion
Pets can improve overall health by reducing depression, providing companionship. and even opportunities to socialize. A dog will keep you active due to its own exercise needs while other animals might simply provide the opportunity to take care of another being, which can take you out of your own thoughts and improve how we feel. Choosing the right pet needn’t be hard with some careful consideration.
About the Author:
Elise Morgan is a freelance writer and mother of two living in North Carolina. She found her passion writing about health and wellness, specifically for seniors, as she worked as a caretaker for a few years out of college. In her free time, she loves to try out new recipes – even though her kids can be so picky! – practice yoga and find hole-in-the-wall bookstores around town.