Seize Control of Your Life with Healthy Habits for Healthy Aging

We all want to do what we can to turn back the clock and age well. Unfortunately, it can become more challenging to stay active and do things you enjoy. But if you take control of your health your quality of life can improve, creating a positive cycle that’s easier to maintain.

Eat Right for Energy

What you eat fuels everything else you do. The right diet can change your entire health outlook and help with managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Knowing exactly what the “right” diet is can be tricky, though, because our nutritional needs change.

For a little help, use the MyPlate graphic, created by nutritionists with support from AARP. It’s an easy guide for a balanced, plant-based diet. Take baby steps to improve your diet little by little and you can adapt to the change. Once you do, you will feel better and feel an increase in energy.

Prioritize Easy Activity
Like nutrition, physical fitness is key when it comes to taking charge of your health. The reality is that some activity is accessible to most older adults, and you benefit drastically from any exercise you do. Many people enjoy the SilverSneakers program for adding daily physical activity. SilverSneakers has been available through some Medicare Advantage plans, so it fits almost any budget. A SilverSneakers membership provides access to more than 13,000 gyms, wellness centers and the YMCA nationwide. Joining one of these programs helps you find fitness options that target individual needs, like yoga, while  enjoying the fellowship of exercising with a group.

You don’t have to get out of the house to be active. On days when it’s cold or you don’t want to drive, there are plenty of easy exercises you can do at home. Hop online for exercise videos, or download an exercise app to your mobile device.

Get Regular Health Checks

While focusing on managing and preventing chronic conditions, don’t forget the other minor problems that can pop up as you get older. Berkeley Wellness, which is affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, recommends getting regular cancer screenings, dental visits to care for oral health, glaucoma screening and certain vaccinations for illnesses. Screenings are the best way to stay on top of your health and start treatments when necessary.

Don’t Forget Mental and Emotional Health

The relationship between mental and physical health is complex. Taking care of your physical health boosts emotional wellness, while poor mental health can play a role in developing physical disease. Even with healthy habits, seniors need to be vigilant about preventing depression. Social isolation is an unfortunate reality,  and it’s also a leading cause of depression. Stay socially active. On 70 Strong, look for activities that are fun and good for you.

Another great way to help yourself and others is to volunteer your time. 70 Strong lists many volunteer opportunities including Peer Counseling.

Yet an additional way to meet people who share your interests in joining a support group. Support groups can help you overcome the challenges of specific health issues.

Be proactive. Good health doesn’t just happen automatically. You have more power than you may realize, which means that a happier, healthier life is well within your reach.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Guest blog post is by Jason Lewis, a physical trainer with Strongwell in Delaware.