Can you believe a healthy diet is more effective than exercise?
Now, this doesn’t take anything away from the value of exercise but, in fact, suggests what needs to be done.
A longer life can be better with health and vitality, but achieving that requires applying some changes. The biggest challenge we face in this regard is not to add more years to our lifespan; instead, it is the increase in the number of years that we can be fully active, independent, and happy. We want to travel, dance, learn, laugh, and enjoy our lives. This article will discuss ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle for seniors.
Healthy Lifestyle for Seniors
Research has shown that specific strategies for a proper diet, sleep, exercise, relationships, and preventative care can dramatically create a healthy lifestyle for seniors. They can prevent the occurrence of chronic diseases and guarantee a longer and healthier life.
Aging is fraught with many challenges to your health. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, about one in four Americans suffer from chronic diseases such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and chronic respiratory conditions in old age.
These chronic diseases can cause many disorders to maintain independence and carry out daily activities in old age. Such chronic conditions can create a lot of problems for the elderly, but they can also lead to many costs such as medical treatment, intensive care, and the high cost of prescription drugs.
The good news is that you can take positive steps to reduce the risk of various diseases and illnesses in old age. Doing these steps will make your body stronger, your mind clearer, and your immune system a more robust defense mechanism, so you will be less prone to various diseases.
Basic Principles of Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle for Seniors
Healthy Nutrition and Diet
Choosing healthy foods is very important to have a healthy lifestyle for seniors, and it prevents various diseases. Your body experiences significant changes between the ages of 60, 70, and 80. Your diet at this age should be such that it provides the energy and nutrients with your body needs. It has been scientifically proven that following these tips will improve your health at every stage of life, especially in old age.
Healthy foods include:
- Protein-rich foods (chicken, lean meats, seafood, eggs, legumes)
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products
In addition, try to eat high vitamin D foods, high in fibre and low in fat and sodium, especially as you get older. It is also essential to drink plenty of water every day.
Pay Attention to the Amount of Food You Consume
Dietary guidelines show that people over the age of 50 choose their foods from the following recipes. It is a great starting point to help you feel how much and what kind of food you should eat:
- Fruits: 1.5 to 2.5 cups
- Vegetables: 2 to 3.5 cups
- Beans: 5 to 10 ounce
- Protein foods: 5 to 7 ounces
- Dairy products: 3 glasses of skim or low-fat milk
- Oil: 5 to 8 teaspoons
Reduce your intake of solid fats and excess sugars, and sodium (salt) as much as possible.
It is better to eat fresh foods and foods, especially in old age, but if you use packaged or canned foods, be sure to read the labels. Avoid foods high in saturated sugar and sodium.
Try not to consume more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day (25-36 grams).
Besides, people over the age of 50 should limit their sodium intake to a maximum of 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
The elderly should also reduce the intake of saturated fat to 18 and 25 grams per day, and also, they should not get more than 10% of their daily calories from saturated fat.
Sleep and Healthy Lifestyle for Seniors
According to the US National Sleep Foundation, older people between the ages of 50 and 65 should get 7 to 9 hours of rest a night, and those over 65 should get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. However, getting a good night’s sleep is a big challenge for many seniors.
With age, people suddenly wake up more during the night, and they will face sleep disturbance. Older people suffer from sleep apnea, arthritis, acid reflux, heart failure, suffocation, and depression. Other people experience Restless Legs Syndrome or periodic foot movements that make it difficult to sleep at night.
The good news is that treating these diseases often improves a person’s ability to sleep and ascertains a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Poor sleep can negatively affect your physical and mental health. A significant number of studies have linked sleep deprivation to poorer memory, illness, and shorter life expectancy.
Tips to Improve Sleep Quality
Although it may be challenging to get a good night’s sleep in old age, it is not impossible, and there are many things we can do to improve the quality of our night’s sleep. Some of those are as follows:
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and other stimulants at night.
- Eat a light dinner or snack before bed – avoid heavy meals late in the day.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of beverages before bedtime that increase nocturnal urination, and drink only water or other drinks to quench your thirst at night.
- Do not take a nap until noon because you will miss your nap after lunch if you take a nap all day.
- Be sure to exercise in the morning, but do not do it after dinner. Morning exercise will really help you sleep better at night. However, never postpone your workouts too late as they irritate your body and deprive you of sleep.
- Maintain a proper sleep schedule for going to bed and waking up the following day to make it easier for your body to get used to your sleep-wake rhythm. Waking up on time causes your body to force you to go to bed and rest at a specific time and wake you up at a specific time. Do not constantly check your cell phone while sleeping, as this will cause you to fall asleep later. If you cannot resist, try to place your laptop or smartphone away from the bed.
Exercise and Healthy Lifestyle for Seniors
Everyone knows that daily exercise with a healthy diet acts as an energizing medicine for the body in today’s world.
Exercise helps the elderly be active and independent, and while helping to prevent a variety of diseases, it will also increase their life expectancy. But most importantly, such seniors will have better levels of preparation, better decision-making, critical thinking, and more careful planning skills than their peers while reducing cognition, memory loss, and dementia. The following are the best guidelines for the elderly to exercise:
- At least 150 minutes of walking or another aerobic exercise per week.
- Strength training 2-3 times a week, but never two days in a row.
- Practice stretching and balance every day.
There are many tips on what is good or bad for older people that change every year. One day wine is good for you; another day, it is no longer good. One day an egg is bad for you; the next, it can be great. So here is a list of 5 habits that will benefit you in any situation to use. These habits will make a big difference in your life, so try to practice them:
Be Sure to Exercise Daily
The more you move, the better. Walking, swimming, tennis, etc., are among the best choices. Research shows that sustained physical activity increases the chances of improving health seven-fold, especially in old age.
Smile as Much as You Can
Smile as much as you can. People who smile will live longer, happier, and healthier lives than people who smile less and are gloomy. Forcing a smile will not make any difference in your life, but do things that bring a smile to your face.
Turn Off the TV
Studies show that watching TV for an hour reduces life expectancy by about 22 minutes! So if you sit in front of the TV for six hours every day, you will live five years less, according to a University of Queensland study. Spend time with your friends, cooking, gardening, walking, painting, writing and reading, and many other fun activities, and try to limit watching TV.
Spend Time with Friends and Family
A study found that having a robust social network of friends is essential to have a healthy lifestyle for seniors. In fact, according to a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a broad social network, like exercise and diet, will help keep the elderly healthy.
Meditation for Healthy Lifestyle of Seniors
It may seem trivial to you, but meditation is the key to a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Researchers at Harvard University have even emphasized the benefits of meditation for the elderly. Just 15 minutes of meditation a day can keep your mind healthy and protect your health while reducing your stress, pain, and depression.
The bottom line is
Staying healthy in old age does not happen by chance. Of course, genetic luck is significant, but there are many things we can do to improve our chances of having a healthy lifestyle. Having a diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, social interaction habits, and disease prevention will help us live longer and healthier lives during our senior years.