Get the Best Out of Your Golden Years by Keeping Fit
You’ve hit retirement, the kids are long gone from the house, and you’ve got more free time than ever to enjoy the things you love. That’s only possible as long as you stay healthy despite your advancing age. In fact, it’s more important now than ever with the increasing risk of heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s as you grow older. Luckily, the formula for keeping your weight down, your spirits high, and your energy levels up hasn’t changed much over the years. The healthy habits you should be striving to make part of your routine range from daily goals, like drinking enough water, to yearly priorities, like scheduling your annual physical. Here are a few reminders.
Eat a Balanced Diet
You need fewer calories as you age and your metabolism slow down, according to Healthline, so it’s important to reduce the size of your meals while making sure they are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in processed fats, sugar, and salt. Plan them carefully, and include plenty of fresh vegetables as well as beans, lentils, and whole grains.
Don’t Skip Meals
It may seem like a simple way to cut a few calories, but it actually does more harm than good by slowing down your metabolism, encouraging your body to guard extra weight rather than shedding it. You may also find yourself feeling tired and sluggish due to a drop in blood sugar.
You may not be in the same shape you used to be, but that’s no excuse for staying sedentary. In fact, physical activity lowers your risk of chronic disease and injury while improving your mood. As for what to do, walking, running, swimming, cycling, and even strength training are viable options. Develop a schedule and mix things up with a few days of rest and stretching thrown in.
Drink Lots of Water
As you get older, your body water content decreases, leading to an increased risk of dehydration, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. There’s no set amount that everyone needs as that depends on factors such as height and weight. The general rule of thumb is eight 8-ounce glasses per day.
Get Enough Sleep
You need to get the same amount of sleep similar to a young adult, and that is seven to nine hours a night. However, many people your age have trouble getting enough as they wake up frequently during the night. To avoid that, be sure to go to bed at the same time every day, develop a bedtime routine, and create a comfortable sleeping environment.
Spend Time Outdoors
According to some studies, it sounds like a magical potion. Just a little time in nature encourages physical activity and increases energy while boosting memory and improving overall physical health. All you need to do is go to your local park for a walk or spend a few hours at the beach or out in the forest to benefit.
Be Careful of the Sun
The sun’s rays do more than just cheer you up. You need to take extra precaution because seniors are at greater risk of getting skin cancer, according to one study. That means wearing sunscreen or long pants and sleeves when you’re outside. And don’t forget that water bottle.
Stay Mentally Active
Hobbies that engage your intellect help to ward off a number of cognitive impairments including Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. There’s no shortage of activities to choose from including the old favorites of chess and crossword puzzles, as well as exciting alternatives like photography or studying a new language.
Learn to Relax
Though you no longer work full time, that does not mean your life is free from stress, which can lead to a number of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and depression. A health writer for U.S. News recommends meditation as a way for seniors to unburden themselves of worries and find a greater sense of well-being.
Now you’ll be able to enjoy your golden years rather than wasting time worrying about your health. You should have plenty of energy for long walks with your loved ones and maybe even a bike ride by the shore.
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