Staying Healthy as a Senior

This week, TargitFit is pleased to bring you an informative health and wellness article from Help And Wellness:

Look and feel your best at 60 and beyond.
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As we get older, our bodies become less capable of fighting off infections and mending after injuries. The healthier we are going into our senior years, the better chance we have of staving off illness and injury.

Staying fit and healthy is always a bit of a challenge. Finding the time and motivation to exercise, cook good meals, and drink enough water is difficult!

However hard it is, staying healthy is important. If we want to live long, happy, healthy lives we need to keep our bodies and minds in tip-top shape.

We’ve put together a short guide for seniors to help you stay fighting fit for many more years to come! A crib sheet of sorts.

1. Be Active

Physical activity is important to our bodies for so many reasons. First and foremost, it helps us burn calories and keep our weight down. It also triggers a number of hormone chemicals that boost our mood and bodily functions.

You might not be able to move like you used to but there’s no reason why you should stop altogether.

Physical activity comes with some risks, of course. You need to move at a pace you can manage. If you’re struggling with joint pain, for example, try low-impact activities like swimming or walking.

You should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio/aerobic exercise a week. This works out to about half an hour a day for five days a week.

Moderate-intensity exercise is an activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat a little. You don’t need to run ultra marathons, you just need to keep yourself moving.

You also need to take part in some resistance training. This will help your muscles stay firm and toned.

Resistance training doesn’t mean that you need to be lifting iron. You can increase or decrease the resistance as you feel comfortable. The key thing is to keep the training within your limits.

Try using resistance bands for resistance training. You can gradually increase the strength of the bands as you feel comfortable.

Resistance bands are a safe and effective way of incorporating resistance training into your daily activity. They provide plenty of challenges but don’t put you at risk of injury from falling weights or dropped barbells.

It’s also important to remember that any activity is better than no activity at all. If you can get yourself up out of a chair to stroll around your garden, that’s a great start! The more you move the better you’ll feel.

2. Eat A Balanced Diet

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t treat yourself to delicious food in your senior years. You’ve earned it! The key is to enjoy it responsibly as part of a balanced diet.

A balanced diet should contain food from all of the major food groups however, it is not the same balanced diet as you may have eaten in your younger years.

For a start, we need fewer calories as we get older. Our bodies aren’t growing and producing and mending tissue as much, so we’re using less energy. Also, we tend to slow down, stop working, and take things easier in our older years.

Despite needing fewer calories, we do need the same amount of nutrients from our diet. This means seniors need to focus on nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins.

You also need to ensure you get enough fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Soluble fiber is plentiful in foods like fruit and veg, lentils, and oats.

3. Sleep Well

It’s true that as we age, we need fewer hours of sleep. Again, this has to do with the body slowing down and not needing so much time to recuperate from the day’s activities.

However, sleep is still hugely important to your health and well-being. It has an impact on your mood, your memory, and your concentration. All three of those things can and do take a hit as you get older. It’s important to do what we can to maintain them.

Those over 65 should aim for 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Ideally, this sleep should be uninterrupted so that you are able to go through all the stages of your sleep. However, staying asleep can be a problem for some people.

If you find that you are waking up during the night, try to adjust your sleeping situation. Make sure lights are off, sounds are limited and the temperature is just right for you. If you’re waking to use the bathroom, try not to drink just before bed, and stop drinking caffeine by midday.

It’s not unusual to have trouble sleeping as you get older. You might be kept awake by aches and pains, medications, or conditions like sleep apnea. Speak with your doctor to address the underlying causes in order to get better sleep.

4. Be Calm

Stress is a killer no matter what your age. Stress triggers the production of cortisol which is a chemical that is intended to get us out of dangerous and stressful situations.

Cortisol effectively suppresses functions that it deems superfluous to an emergency situation. These functions include the digestive system and the growth production systems.

Repeated or sustained stress, known as chronic stress, can do lasting damage to many organs including the heart, digestive system, and brain.

As a senior, you need to curb this stress response as much as possible. It can exacerbate problems in your heart and brain.

Try to take up relaxing activities like reading, painting, or music. If you aren’t already meditating, try to add a few minutes of meditation to your daily routine.

Ultimately, you need to try and limit the amount of stress in your life. Your golden years are a time to relax and enjoy yourself, after all.

5. Reduce Risk

You can eat well, keep active, and get plenty of rest, but the fact remains that older bodies are not as able when it comes to fighting off infections.

Exercise is proven to boost your immune system. It gives your body a jolt that encourages the growth of T-cells which are key for fighting off infections.

Exercising daily can help you stave off infections and illnesses. It can also help you get better quicker.

What’s more, there are a few things you can and should do on top of your daily exercise routine to reduce your risk of illness.

As the saying goes, the best cure is prevention. You need to reduce your chances of illness and infection to have the best chance of beating them.

The first thing you need to do is stay away from sick people! It’s tempting to call in on the grandkids or your old friend when they’re unwell. You want to cheer them up and make them feel better.

However, doing this puts you at greater risk. Your young grandchildren can shrug the flu off in a few days–you might not be so lucky!

The next thing you need to do is wash your hands frequently. Whenever you come home, wash your hands. Before you eat or touch food, wash your hands. If possible, wash your hands after touching public surfaces like door handles.

It might seem excessive but, remember that viruses can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours, and some can survive even longer. You don’t want them on your hands, much less in your body.

Final Thoughts

Old age comes to us all. However, we don’t have to let our age be a limiting factor in our lives.

Staying healthy and fit is the best way to get the most enjoyment out of your senior years.

You don’t need to be a professional athlete to feel the benefits of daily exercise. Just doing what you can helps your body stay young and strong.

And, if you’d like a longer guide and more advice, check out this article! It has plenty of information to keep you fit and healthy.

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