Aging well is more than just exercising and eating right; it involves seven dimensions of wellness – emotional, environmental, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and vocational. It’s never too late to take control of your health and try something new. Continue your path to active aging throughout the year by following these helpful tips:
• Stay active.
Participating in physical activity helps control your weigh, boost your mood and keep your bones and muscles strong. Make it a priority to include physical activity to your daily routine by including both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. For example, I often recommend to our residents combining a mix of both from our exercise classes, fitness center and walking around the community or our nature trail.
• Maintain a positive outlook.
Life can be challenging in many ways but choosing to be optimistic and looking for the positive in every situation can improve your mood, to help manage those challenging circumstances. Surround yourself with positive people and smile often.
• Get plenty of rest.
Maintaining a routine sleep schedule improves your mood, attention span and memory. The National Sleep Foundation recommends between seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for older adults, so try going to bed and waking up the same time every day. Also, try to limit day-time naps to no more than 10-20 minutes and avoid napping close to bedtime.
• Schedule regular check-ups.
Preventive care visits with your physician are essential to healthy aging and may help identify issues early when they’re easier to treat. Be mindful to schedule annual physicals and other health screenings.
• Maintain a healthy diet.
Eating well is an important component of staying healthy. A nutritious diet can control, and even help prevent many diseases associated with aging such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Include a variety of fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods and excessive amounts of saturated fat, sugar and salt.
• Take time to relax.
Busy schedules and stressful situations often take control of our daily lives, and we rarely take time out for ourselves. Find a quiet place without distractions, focus on breathing and celebrate all that you are be grateful for. You may find it helpful to practice breath prayers.
• Challenge your mind.
Reading books and completing the daily crossword puzzle can contribute to brain health, but an even more effective way to challenge your brain is to try something new. This will help stimulate new pathways in your brain, keeping it sharp and engaged. To help our residents explore something new, we provide life-long learning opportunities in coordination with local colleges and organizations.
While physical wellness is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, active aging really focuses on wellness for the whole person. No matter what age you are, you can start aging actively now! The benefits are numerous.
Sherry Stick is the fitness and aquatics coordinator at Carroll Lutheran Village and has been working for CLV for nearly 20 years.