Simple Steps To Improving Your Health As You Age
As a society, we are living longer than ever but our physical and mental health still declines as we age. However, there are many steps you can take to improve your quality of life even in your senior years.
How To Improve Your Mental Health
Mental health can be a significant problem for seniors. According to statistics from Mental Health America, more than 2 million American adults over the age of 65 suffer from depression.
The CDC says that this is not a normal part of aging but instead is a treatable medical condition. In light of this, what steps can you take to ensure that you maintain good mental health? Here are some tips.
- Improve Your Memory Skills
Neal Barnard, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine, in Washington, D.C., says that it’s never too late to improve your memory because your brain continues to develop and make new connections as you age. Meditation is just one of 12 tips this article recommends to improve your memory.
- Stay Mentally Active
Research shows that mental stimulation can create new connections in the brain as well and may even generate new cells. You don’t necessarily have to play “brain games.” You can get equal amounts of stimulation by learning a new skill like playing a musical instrument or learning gourmet cooking. You can even take up a hobby online if it’s difficult to get out.
- Improve Your Sleep
While we’ve been told that seniors need only a few hours sleep, the reality is that people over the age of 65 need seven hours of sleep. This will impact different kinds of memory as well, so get your rest.
- Seek Treatment For Problems
If you find yourself suffering from depression, despair, or other mental health problems, seek treatment right away. The signs of depression in seniors include loss of interest in the activities you would normally enjoy, loss of energy, change in appetite, and different sleeping patterns. There are now apps and virtual support for mental health issues, so don’t overlook the internet for help.
Improving Your Physical Health
Seniors in particular need to take care of their physical health. This, too, can have a positive impact on your mental health. Try these changes to improve fitness:
- Eat A Healthy Diet
While old habits may be hard to break, this is the best time in your life to start a healthy diet. Your diet should be rich in nutrients from sources like fatty fish, fresh produce and fiber-rich foods. You should also consider taking a probiotic to help maintain good gut health. (Ask your doctor.) Read about which plant-based foods have anti-aging properties at One Green Planet.
- Improve Your Posture
Did you know that your posture affects your whole body? According to this post from Age In Place, poor posture can impact your back muscles, shift your bones and cause pain and stiffness. It can also affect your alertness, breathing, digestion, and more. Learn the ins and outs of sitting up straight and other tips to improve your posture.
- Start A Fitness Routine
This is good for both your physical and mental health, as wells as your posture. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are fit you best. The National Institute of Health recommends aerobics, balance, and stability exercises for seniors. Weight and resistance training are also important and will help keep your muscles strong and joints flexible.
- Get Active And Social
Staying active is good for your health and fitness, but it also allows you to remain social. Isolation can lead to depression and despair in seniors. Get involved with your community and find volunteers through local organization and faith groups if you have trouble getting around.
You can maintain a good quality of life if by taking actions that can aid and improve your physical and mental health, especially as you age. It’s never too late to start.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer and caregiver to his elderly mom. He enjoys sharing his fitness knowledge on his website, www.strongwell.org
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