Proper diet and exercise are ever more important as we age. Our metabolisms slow down, and we need fewer calories.
Here are a few good guidelines for seniors:
* reduce sodium (salt) to help prevent water retention and high blood pressure,
* monitor fat intake in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels,
* consume more calcium and vitamin D for bone health,
* eat more fiber-rich foods to prevent constipation,
* cut back on sugar and on dry foods,
* make sure you get the recommended amount of important vitamins and minerals,
* increase your water intake, and
* participate in regular physical activity.
Following these senior nutrition tips can yield many benefits, including increased energy, good mental health and mental abilities, resistance to disease, faster recovery from illness, accident, or surgery, better medication effectiveness, and improved management of chronic health problems. The overall result of an emphasis on good nutrition will be an improvement in your quality of life, mobility, and independence. Adding exercise can help you maintain your health and independence throughout your life.
Many seniors don’t exercise for the same reason that people of all ages resist physical activity – they think of it as too hard, too boring, or they are disappointed by the lack of immediate results. On top of this, some older people have additional challenges, such as chronic health conditions or concerns about injury or falls.
It doesn’t matter how old you are! People in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and even nineties can reap the benefits of exercise and improved senior nutrition.
If you pick an activity that you already enjoy doing, exercise is easier than you think. For example, gardening, walking at the mall, or playing with your grandchildren combine exercise with another fun activity. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. If sports are not for you, walking is a great form of exercise that is easy to do. Take a water aerobics class, or simply walk back and forth in waist-deep water, a delight in warmer weather.
Here are some other Senior exercise tips:
* Convince your bridge or poker group to go for a walk once a week instead of playing cards.
* Dogs are a great incentive to go for a walk. Their natural enthusiasm will get you out the door every day.
* Start or join a Mall-walking group
* Dance, tai chi, and yoga classes are enjoyable, low-stress fitness activities.
* Stretch, walk, march in place, stand and sit as many times as possible when you’re talking on the phone or during TV commercials.
* Go to a zoo or botanical garden.
Many seniors are afraid they’re going to fall if they try to exercise. Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. There are many types of exercise to start with if you are concerned about falls. Safe options for seniors with health or mobility issues include chair exercises, swimming, or water aerobics.
Above all, get out there! Meeting like-minded people will make both eating right and exercising become second nature. Regular exercise, good diet and senior fitness is the key to greater energy, stronger muscles, better balance and flexibility, and a happy and alert mind.