The dawn of a new year is the perfect time to start building a healthier new you! Making a New Year’s resolution to eat better and exercise more often can boost your health and daily energy for years to come. The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation recommends these eight healthy changes for older adults to help you achieve your goal of getting — and staying — healthy.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and healthy fats.
Just because you’re not a kid any more doesn’t mean you’re excused from consulting the food pyramid. The USDA’s MyPyramid for Older Adults (www.mypyramid.gov) and your doctor can help you make good choices in 2016. Here’s a tip: use herbs and spices to add flavor when cooking to reduce the need to add salt or fat.
- Take a multivitamin.
Read labels and make sure you’re choosing a multivitamin that includes 100% of the “Daily Value” for most vitamins and minerals.
- Be active.
There are all kinds of different exercises to suit your individual abilities and needs. Physical activity can be safe for anyone — even those dealing with heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. In fact, your condition could actually improve with mild to moderate exercise. Tai chi, water aerobics, walking and yoga are all low-impact options that can build muscles and improve balance, posture and mood.
- See your healthcare provider regularly.
Make sure you’re getting at least one complete physical per year. Ask about immunizations and screenings for vision, hearing, breast cancer, colon cancer and osteoporosis too!
- Monitor your alcohol intake.
Toast with a smaller glass this year because excessive drinking can increase the likelihood of depression and insomnia, as well as increase your chances of falling. The recommended limit for older men is 14 drinks per week; the limit for older women is 7 per week.
- Protect yourself from falls.
One in three older adults fall each year. Falls, unfortunately, are a leading cause of injuries and death in seniors. Exercise to increase your flexibility and balance and eliminate items in your home you’ll be likely to trip over, like throw rugs. Installing night lights and a grab bar for your shower are good ideas as well.
- Exercise your mind.
Read, do crossword puzzles, or try Sudoku to keep your brain active. Socializing helps too — take a course at your local community college, join a book club, attend a lecture or join a discussion group at your local senior center.
- Get some sleep!
Older adults need at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night. Avoid daytime naps that might mess up your sleep schedule and visit the National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org) for more information on how to get a better night’s rest.
If you’d like to get a jump start on making your resolutions a reality, give Freedom Home Care a call. Not only can we pair you with a suitable exercise routine, we can also help you at home to prevent falls and set up a meal plan. Call us today or see all our services online.