Mind and Body: How Seniors Can Age Healthfully and Gracefully
Time doesn’t stop, so why should you ever stop taking care of your mind and body? They are both with you for the long haul, but some tender, loving care is definitely required to keep them in tiptop shape. Seniors especially need to stay on top of their mental and physical health so that they can go healthfully and gracefully into their golden years. The following are just a few ways for seniors to stay healthy and engaged as they age.
Dive Into Lifelong Learning
Have you ever thought about going back to school? Whether you are considering taking a seat in the lecture hall or a virtual classroom, you’ll find that pursuing lifelong learning offers many benefits. For starters, it keeps your brain sharp and your mind stimulated and challenged. You’ll also find that the classroom facilitates social engagement, which can result in new friends. Even if you take an online course, you’ll likely be required to engage with class members, and you can take it a step further by initiating a study session at the local library or coffee shop. So, what classes should you take? There are plenty to choose from, so consider your interests. Perhaps you’d like to learn about photography, accounting, marketing, or women’s studies. Learning a new language has proven to be beneficial for seniors as well, preventing or delaying the onset of dementia and forming new connections in the brain.
Stay Active and Engaged
As you age, you’ll likely find that you have a lot more time on your hands, and with this comes the risk of loneliness. Consequently, this can lead to feelings of depression and result in lower physical health. However, according to sociologist Patricia Thomas, “Maintaining that social engagement can give you a greater sense of purpose and give a sense of motivation that can make you behave in ways that are better for your health.” Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to get that much-needed social interaction, not to mention get you out of the house. When deciding what exercise classes to try, opt for activities that improve strength, balance, and mobility such as yoga, Pilates, cycling, or aerobic classes. If mobility is an issue, ask the instructor to modify the exercise for your safety.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep patterns change over time, and you may find that you are suddenly having issues falling and staying asleep. Lack of rest can cause brain fogginess and leave you feeling run down. If nighttime is becoming a struggle, try setting (and sticking to) a bedtime and wake time to get your body’s natural clock back on track. If you tend to snooze throughout the day, try to skip naps or at least limit the time and amount. If you are consistently waking up with aches and pains or you literally sink into bed, consider whether your mattress could be the culprit. Mattresses lose shape over time, and if more than seven years have passed since you last upgraded your mattress, it might be time to shop for a new one.
Start Eating Right
If you had a dollar for every time someone talked about how important good nutrition is, you’d be rich. However, your food choices have more lasting effects on your body now that you’re older, so maybe it’s time to start listening to that advice. Instead of the drive-thru and frozen dinners, try cooking your own meals. If cooking has never been your strong suit, take a cooking class or look up easy recipes online. Get out of your comfort zone and try new fruits and vegetables, or give the ones you don’t care for another chance and find new ways to eat them. For example, broccoli isn’t your favorite, but have you tried them in tater tot form?
We are all getting older, and unfortunately, it can’t be stopped — no matter how hard you might try. The importance of taking care of your mind and body never stops either. To make the most of your golden years, engage in lifelong learning, stay active and socialized, get enough sleep, and eat right — your mind and body deserve it.