Maintaining our wellness as we get older is challenging but important. We may not have the energy we used to have, but we need to keep our bones and muscles strong. Retirement can sometimes allow us the time to finally follow and stick with a fitness regimen and get in shape.
Physical activity, exercise, and adjusting our diets as you get older can assist you in your goal of staying healthy. Anti-aging products are only skin-deep, and they will not stop things like loss of muscle and strength (sarcopenia), or your cardio endurance rates.
Flexibility is another part of your body that will change – as age settles in, without you putting in the effort to remain healthy and fit, your joints will change and can become extremely stiff.
Every year, hospitals see thousands of elderly patients with injuries that they obtained from falling. This is due to the change in their range of motion and their dwindling balance. An older person’s center of gravity will be in a different place than where it was when they were younger; typically, because their bodies have started to force them to hunch over, which pulls them forwards.
According to studies that have been highlighted by the Royal College of Nursing, 30% of people aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year, and for those who are aged 80 and over, that percentage rises to 50%. (NICE, 2013)
Wellness Tips for Seniors
However, these are preventable issues. There are a variety of ways that seniors and other post-retirement age people can stay healthy and fit, while avoiding preventable health issues.
Here are some of the best senior wellness tips for improving a variety of different aspects of your health after retirement:
Watch Your Diet
It might sound obvious, but following a balanced diet is critical to energy, good health, and keeping illness at bay. The ideal diet should include lean meat, oily fish, whole grains, low-fat dairy in small amounts, lots of fruit and vegetables, and low in saturated fat.
It is also important to take plenty of water to avoid dehydration that makes you feel confused and tired.
Fruit juice, coffee, and tea can also help you stay properly hydrated, but you need to stay away from sugary fizzy drinks.
If you take alcohol, ensure that you stay away from it at least two days every week to give the liver enough time to recover from alcohol toxic effects and avoid exceeding the recommended daily alcohol intake quantities.
Related Reading: How to Become Fit After 50
Take Proper Care of Your Teeth
Brush teeth two times a day and floss every day. Flossing helps prevent gum disease by removing plaque and pieces of food between teeth.
If plaque is allowed to build up, you might start suffering from bleeding gums and gum disease has also been to stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.
Go for check-ups regularly and if you have a bridge or wear dentures, ask the dentist to ensure that they fit properly.
If you wear dentures, there are many simple ways that you can take better care of your dentures to ensure better oral health. Oral-health specialists such as the people at Kennedy Square Dental can provide specific information to improve how you take care of your dentures, but there are many things you can do on your own as well.
For example, when you get your dentures, use them with very carefully. In starting you may have problem with them like while carrying them since people do not get used to them very quickly. It takes a lot of time to get adjusted and used to with dentures as they are manual take and wear tooth set.
So, use them carefully and give them rest in the night time.
Also, according to dentists, it is very important to clean your dentures daily. Regular cleaning is very important, and if not, the dentures may get damaged. The dentures may also form bacteria if not cleaned properly in regular days.
So, as you used to clean your natural teeth, do the same with the dentures.
The dentures will also have the separate cleaning provisions and liquids. So, it is better to have the best things for your dentures.
Lastly, sometimes people think that when we are using dentures then it is not necessary to take care of gums, but you are wrong in this case. Even if you are using the dentures, you should take care of the gums and mouth.
Rinse your mouth with warm water daily after taking dentures. Keep the dentures clean and so as your mouth too.
If you use these tips, you will keep your mouth free from any unnecessary illness or health problem!
See Also: How to Strengthen Your Teeth
Make the Most of Your Doctor
It is advisable to go to your doctor for routine testing so that your cholesterol and blood pressure levels are checked. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels increase your risk factor for heart disease and stroke but it is possible to reverse any problems using medication.
While you are there, you should consider asking your GP about the seasonal flu jab. It is free for people aged 65 and above, or if you are suffering from a health condition which puts you at risk of more serious problems if you have the flu.
Get a Vitamin D Boost
People suffering from Vitamin D deficiency often don’t know it. It is actually estimated that it affects 50 percent of adults. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone problems, cognitive impairment, and even cardiovascular disease.
Try to get outside in the sun for between 15 and 20 minutes every day for your Vitamin D boost. Vitamin D is also found in food sources such as oily fish and eggs.
Alternatively, you can talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplementation.
Proper Foot Care
There multiple aspects to proper foot care for seniors.
For example, make sure you apply moisture to your feet to prevent dry skin and cut your toenails straight across. Also, you should ensure that you have properly fitting footwear that supports your feet.
If your feet are sore, it can be tempting to wear slippers, but a better option would be to wear a pair of trainers since they are more supportive. If you want to wear sandals, you could choose something like these Birkenstock Madrid models that are comfortable and supportive at the same time. These will give your feet enough support and therefore make your posture better than ever.
If your feet feel very cold or hot, become painful, or if you experience problems such as ingrown toenails, bunions, or corns, ensure that you get in touch with your doctor.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Many people have trouble either getting or staying asleep as they grow older. Consequently, lack of sleep often leaves you feeling grumpy and tired. Improving your sleep cycle is vital to having a proper sleep each night.
Try taking a warm drink such as hot milk or chamomile tea before going to bed.
Make Sure You Stay Active
Regular exercise helps you stay healthy and strong. This helps lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Staying active also helps boost your self-esteem, gives you more energy, and helps improve sleep quality.
Studies have shown that at least three hours of exercise a week can drastically decrease the aging process and lead to the following benefits:
- Younger looking skin and reversal of the skin aging process
- Stronger bones and joints
- Strengthens the immune system to fight against illnesses and chronic diseases
- Improves balance and flexibility
- Provides a good night’s sleep which ultimately leads to less wrinkles
Anyone who has specific mobility or disability issues obviously has to take great care before undertaking any type of exercise regime. At the same time, often the motivation to do some type of physical exercise is greater in someone who has limited mobility for the simple reason that they know what a huge difference it can make.
While you can rely on a wheelchair and wheelchair van to get you to and around your destinations, it’s a difficult life to live.
The recommendation according to government guidelines is that older adults require at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity every week and strengthening workouts twice weekly.
If this sounds like a lot, you can start small and work up to those amounts as you grow stronger. Home health can help you stay active and make the most of your life, allowing you to get out and about and keep on the move.
However, you should check with your doctor before you begin any intense exercise program. Some seniors might need to keep a portable oxygen concentrator near them or only exercise while supervised when they do any amount of physical exercise, so you should check with your doctor to see what is the safest option for yourself.
Along with that, if you experience any chest pain, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath during exercise, stop the session immediately. Call your doctor and ask them for their advice, they may require you to visit their office for an examination.
Also, you should carry a carry a medical alert device while you’re exercising in case of an emergency.
The old saying about healthy body, healthy mind is probably true in a general sense for people of most ages, but for people who are seniors and who struggle with their health in any way, the need to improve their level of fitness and balance can often take on a greater sense of urgency, as it has a knock on effect on their emotional and mental well-being.
Here are a few specific ways you can stay active as a senior:
Join a Gym that Offers Classes for Seniors
Many fitness facilities these days have classes specifically designed for older adults.
These programs have become very popular with insurance companies who offer Medicare plans that include programs like Silver Sneaker or Silver and Fit. These programs offer classes with music you like and instructors who will motivate and encourage you.
You can follow classic workouts, or try Cardiofit or circuit training.
It’s a good idea to attend several classes to see which ones fit you best. The best classes are the ones that you will continue attending because you enjoy them.
Strength Training for Seniors
Strength and balance training such as deadlifts and squats are an integral part of preventing these injuries by helping older people understanding how their body works and how to adjust their aging body to better work for them.
“Balance impairment and muscle weakness caused by aging and lack of use and the most prevalent modifiable risk factors for falls. Strength and balance training have been identified as an effective single intervention and as a component in successful multifactorial intervention programs to reduce subsequent falls.” (NICE, 2017)
If you are relatively active and looking to increase your physical activity to develop a truly strong and healthy body, High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT is the best exercise for anti-aging. The training involves high intensity training followed by an interval of low output training, such as in the Tabata Interval training method.
No matter how old you are, there are systems and programs in place to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Step one is always an assessment by a professional – check with your doctor, and then talk to local gyms who offer personal training or similar programs.
It said that if you lift a weight for a week, for less than an hour daily, you might reduce the risk of a heart attack. And this is a piece of great news for the people dealing with heart issues.
Strength training for aging people is beneficial beyond health benefits.
Resistance exercise assures excellent bone health and proper physical functions. It assures a better and longer quality life. Strength training also boosts the emotional and mental strength of aging people. It gives them a sense of independence even with their growing age.
Also, hiring a personal trainer for a couple of sessions to show you the equipment is a great idea. The trainer can also do an initial assessment of your body mass index and help you set some goals for your fitness program.
If you are new to exercising or resistance training, a great place to start is with resistance band exercises. Resistance band exercise are not as intense as other types of strength training, but they are great for improving your muscles and joints as you build a foundation of strength and a healthy body.
If you would like to give resistance band exercises a try, you could buy this set and use them at home:
Cardio for Seniors
Even just engaging in a bit of cardio alongside your strength and balance training could make the world of difference to you.
Cardio has many benefits for seniors. It can help prevent osteoporosis, which is caused by low bone density (a common condition in the elderly). Cardio improves blood circulation, muscle strength, and can even improve bone density; making it a great solution if you’re looking for a way to prevent possible osteoporosis.
But that’s not all! Cardio can also help to elevate your mood and reduce anxiety and depression. This is because exercising helps release hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone – all of which help your body and mind balance out in different ways.
According to a Harvard University study highlighted in Psychology Today, someone who exercises regularly will feel an increase in psychological well-being. In their 11-year study, they hypothesized that the adults over 50 that were physically active at the start of their study, and remained active throughout it, showed psychological well-being; meaning that they were happier, showed positive emotions, and were optimistic. (PSYCOLOGY TODAY, 2016)
Cycling and swimming are great because they are low-impact exercises, which takes a lot of strain off your joints.
See Also: Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Anyone who has ever had a fall, and has either broken something or bruised themselves badly, knows how painful it can be, and how much of a knock-on effect it can have on their ability to do day-to-day tasks.
The fear of having a fall or of tripping over something is one that is perhaps more common with seniors, and is borne out by the sheer number of emergency hospital admissions every year.
It highlights a really important part of any fitness program, the need to have some element of it that specifically focuses on the issue of balance.
This is not to say the people automatically lose their sense of balance as they grow older, but inevitably the effects of ageing mean that people are more vulnerable, and the physical sense of feeling balanced and coordinated takes on a special meaning and importance.
Many seniors will either live on their own or need a degree of help in maintaining an independent lifestyle.
Many fitness instructors and fitness programs will have specific exercises that focus exclusively on balance, in the same way that they will have exercises that are designed for strength training. There are numerous exercises that people can do, depending on their circumstances and general level of mobility and fitness.
The great thing about very simple balancing exercises is that they can be done using normal household objects such as chairs and tables as props, meaning that the person feels safe and secure when doing the exercise.
Activities for seniors need to be adaptable, depending on their individual circumstances. Some people will want to use a personal trainer of some sort to learn the exercises, other people will be happy to learn them on their own.
Balancing exercises can be done as simple stand-alone activities, or done as part of a more specific fitness program that can include strength training exercises, or can be done in the context of other types of exercise such as Yoga or Pilates.
Tai Chi is often specifically recommended as a form of exercise because of how it helps to promote balance in the body. Tai Chi has many forms and again can be practiced either in a class with other people, or learned at home using a DVD or online video.
The movements in Tai Chi are very gentle, very easy to learn and go through a number of stages to help coordinate all areas of body and mind, which result in an overall sense of integration and balance, which can be incredibly powerful.
Yoga and pilates are excellent for gentle stretching and strengthening of your body. If you are looking to tone your body at old age, yoga and pilates are two of the best forms of exercise to lose arm fat without injuring yourself.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, you should sign up for a few beginner classes. Yoga sessions are typically less strenuous than running or cardio classes. Instructors will give modifications for you if there are any moves that you are not ready for.
One of the reasons yoga is so good for older adults is that it promotes balance.
As we age, the muscles in our legs that support balance weaken. Yoga is a great way to counterbalance this aging process and prevent falls.
Many gyms have beginner yoga classes with instructors who teach basic moves, so that’s a great place to start. Pick up an inexpensive yoga mat at your local fitness apparel store.
You can also consider buying yoga blocks that will help you on moves in the beginning while you are still gaining flexibility.
Many balancing exercises can be quite repetitive, and finding the motivation to do them regularly can often be quite tricky. Having a personal trainer can help this focus, but there are other ways as well. Doing any type of balancing exercise within a group or with other people can also help generate motivation or commitment to keep doing them.
Another very popular way is to include children or ideally grandchildren in the exercises and turn it into a game.
Children learn things by repetition and this can be very beneficial for them as well.
This is also very powerful from a bonding point of view, which increases the sense of commitment by the senior, and often leads to other games and activities which can have a similar effect.
Kids love to play and often see doing these exercises as a way of playing with their parent or grandparent.
Invite a Friend
It’s been proven many times that people who work out with other people tend to stay in their fitness programs longer. It’s more fun to pursue fitness goals with a friend who can encourage and motivate you.
You can set goals together as well, such as walking 1 mile on the track or treadmill. Having someone to chat with makes these fitness sessions fly by.
If you sign up for classes together, both of you are more likely to show up because you are both counting on each other. Also, many gyms with classes for seniors have social activities too.
Attending these activities is good for mental and emotional health. Having a friend to show up with is less intimidating if you are new to the gym and don’t know many other people there.
Join an Adult Day Care
Yes, you heard that right. Adult day care is built on the same beliefs as children day care. You leave your loved one at the center, they engage themselves throughout the day, and come back in the evening.
The Adult Day Care program is designed for seniors to enjoy their day with activities, food, and health care support. It also allows seniors to interact with others and make new friends.
The program is beneficial for those who can’t look after themselves and require care. Most of the programs have collaborated with other agencies for transportation and medical centers.
Adult day care centers can also include counselling, education, recreation, supervision, medication management, and even evening care.
Today there are more than 5000 adult day care programs in the USA with over 250,000 seniors!
There are three different types of adult day care that you will come across with.
- Social – The primary purpose is to meet new people and engage yourself in different activities. You get nutritious meals and medical service also.
- Medical – Along with the daily interaction, you get health and therapeutic services, which can be like health monitoring, physical therapy, disease management, and many more.
- Specialized – Some of the centers are also specialized in treating people with severe conditions like Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Here’s what you should ask the staff before finalizing the your adult day care choice:
- How do you keep the seniors safe?
- What is the daily cost?
- Are there any separate expenses such as lunch fees?
- Are there daily schedules set in place? Can I see them?
- Is there a nurse on hand?
- Can the staff take care of citizens with health problems?
- Are there any emergency plans prepared?
For example, Skylark Adult Day Care Center specializes in personalized senior care. It allows the freedom to live independently. The program is developed according to the person’s needs.
Whether you are interested in music or fitness, you can also enjoy and learn the technology-based games so that can later help you mingle up with your grandchildren.
Even if you are someone who lives just with your spouse, the Skylar adult day care center provides affordable senior care options ranging from long term care insurance to veterans’ administrative programs.