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How You Can Take Control Of Your Health As A Senior

From aches and pains to general boredom, life as a senior can be difficult. However, aging does not mean you have to resign yourself to a sedentary life void of excitement. Even as a senior, you can stay physically and mentally active. Here are some tips for you to maximize your quality of life in your golden years.

Why You Should Take Control Of Your Health As You Age

Whether you live independently, with family, or in an assisted living facility, there is no reason why you cannot take control of your physical and mental health. While over 80 percent of older adults have at least one health issue, and health problems are frequently accompanied by mental issues like depression and anxiety, the good news is that through a combination of activity, community involvement, and the arts, less than 15 percent of seniors have major depression.

The key to staying healthy in body and in mind is to make the conscious decision to take care of your health.   Even the process of making that decision will boost your mental health, because one of the main triggers of negative emotions, like frustration and sadness, is a lack of perceived control. By deciding to take your health into your own hands, you have transferred the sense of control back to yourself.

Why Older Adults Should Take Control of Their Health

Also, choosing and designing your own health routine makes it more likely that you will follow through with it for the long term.

How To Stay Physically Healthy As A Senior

Exercise will help your physical health, of course, but it also can boost your mental health thanks to the endorphins released after a workout. Exercise helps with balance, which reduce the chances of a fall. Regular workouts also strengthen your muscles and minimize the amount of daily aches you may feel. Finally, exercise can help you experience a higher-quality of sleep, with a higher energy level throughout the day.

However, this doesn’t mean you should jump feet first into a heavy-duty workout. Take into consideration your capabilities (do you have arthritis, difficulty balancing, or trouble walking?) and decide on a workout routine that fits your needs. Start out with some light cardio to get your heart rate up. Keep it interesting by mixing up walking, swimming, and group fitness classes, such as water aerobics or yoga. Many gyms and recreation centers offer workout programs specifically designed for seniors that can accommodate your abilities.

There are other low-impact activities that can help you stay in shape. Though lifting weights may be difficult for you, it can actually benefit your muscles if you stick to using lighter weights. Even gardening can improve your physical fitness while also offering enjoyment. Since golf requires walking and swinging a club, it’s another great way to keep you in shape by increasing endurance.

You can optimize the benefits of playing golf with the right clubs; be sure to factor in size, grip, and performance when it’s time to purchase them.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may already be covered for senior-focused health and wellness plans, so you won’t have to pay for a fitness club membership out of pocket. If you don’t have these types of programs in your Medicare plan, it’s worth looking into adding this coverage. Just make sure to check enrolment dates and eligibility requirements for your state.

How To Stay Mentally Healthy As A Senior

The mental health boosts that come from physical exercise can be extremely useful for seniors. The accompanying increase in energy will give you the impulse to get out and do something away from your accustomed habits. One of the most important things seniors need is to feel needed themselves. Many seniors find fulfilment by volunteering with an organization close to their heart, such as an animal shelter.

This can help seniors’ need for social belonging as well. You can also become socially connected by joining an interesting group or class. To keep your intelligence alive and moving, try to stimulate your brain each day with puzzles and unusual situations. Even something as simple as a daily crossword or Sudoku puzzle can help keep your problem-solving abilities sharp.

Keep in mind that staying healthy ultimately is a choice, even as a senior. Try out a simple cardio-based workout routine for a month to see how it affects your mental and physical health alike. After you get into the habit, it becomes much easier to make your daily health a priority.

As adults, we all need to devote time to ourselves and improve the quality of our lives. In most cases, this has a lot to do with how we decide to live our life and the choices that we make on a daily basis.

The benefits of having fun and loving life are endless – and there is no person that would say that happiness is not healthy. Being happy is good for you and having fun, smiling, laughing and playing are all activities that improve the quality of your life – but also extend it. Most importantly, they are all habits that will make you look and feel younger but also make you younger in the eyes of others.

5 Habits To Improve The Quality Of Your Life

1. Practicing The Art Of Zen

In times when stress and exhaustion are present more than ever, people are not aware that too much of the two can be detrimental to their health. Stress affects every part of our body and brain physically, emotionally and mentally. So, how to deal with it?

It's simple – have fun and practice the art of zen as the best way to being healthy.

Wondering why?

Well…

When you are stressed, your immune system weakens and increases your chances of getting sick. We can all recall times when we are stressed and when we feel that our head is about to explode. Being in a stressful situation triggers our entire body to the natural fight-or-flight response and causes physical changes from a rapid heartbeat to an increase in blood pressure. The anxiety overextends the stress response and causes the body harm.

And we now know that stress also reduces the length of our telomeres which causes disease and premature aging.

So, de-stressing is a must if you want to protect your body from diseases and ensuring that it is in tip-top shape. If your heart is healthy, your memory improves and you are sleeping well, de-stressing will also prevent obesity. Your mental health will improve as much as your physical appearance.

2. Time Management: How Scheduling Your Time Helps

Time management has a lot to do with de-stressing, according to many successful people who have been in overly-hectic situations during their lifetime. The importance of having a schedule goes a long way. If you are working, attending endless meetings, emails, conference calls and to-do lists can be overwhelming – but can also provide a lot of structure if you maintain it well.

It goes without saying that you should make time for yourself, your family and friends. A lot of people don't do this and are trapped in a never ending circle of work and more work, They have no time for anything and are in a constant state of stress, which leads to faster aging and eventually death. Most importantly, this leads to an unfulfilled and unhappy life.

3. An Endorphin Boost Is A Great Way To De-Stress

Playing sports can give you an endorphin boost – but also give you a sense of belonging. Playing for a team will teach you the values of team work, loyalty, respect as well as discipline. Of course, these are all secondary benefits of keeping your body fit and healthy – but they are also benefits of de-stressing and unwinding your mind and body.

Sports is linked to fun in a very simple way. When you are playing sports, your mind is focused. If it's a sport or activity that is to your liking, it will be hard to keep the natural grin off your face. Time goes by so fast, and you want to do more of it. After the sport or activity comes the reward that you want – a relaxed mind and body that is ready for sleep (or a productive day at work).

Whenever you are engaging in sports activities, your endorphin levels are rising. The ‘happy' hormone levels are also rising and you are feeling good, just like your mind and body during and after the activity.

4. Patience Is A Virtue – And Happiness Is A Habit

It's true that stress and impatience are close friends. However, this is not the case for people who take the long view in life. If you are patient and see the forest as more than just trees, you will know that the real value of life is all about having fun. There is no setback that could be deadly for you – and with the right attitude – you can get over it and focus your mind on the long view.

Similar to patience is happiness. The key to it, according to many, is to not see happiness as a destination, but as a journey that goes on during every moment of your life. If you know that you can be happy at every moment just because you are alive, you can actively look for what you can do to become even happier as the days go by.

So, be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what others have or what you don’t have. Make the most of your belongings and your mindset. Be patient, be happy and always practice gratitude so that you see yourself as plentiful rather than empty. Believe it or not, these mindset changes can help you a lot when de-stressing and making your life worth living.

You may not believe this but being patient and being happy are just a choice that you get to make.  The old saying is so true – Its not what happens to you, but how you react that determines how you live your life

5. Spending Time With Friends And Family

As we grow older and life takes its twists and turns we often lose our closest relationships through break ups, divorces or death.  Being left to live alone.  It is essential that you have a group of great friends to then share your life with. There are a lot of really lonely people out there and it is just not healthy.

According to a Harvard happiness expert named Daniel Gilbert, one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives comes from our relationships. They are worth more than you think – and not feeling socially connected can definitely make you less intelligent and end up killing you.

Loneliness leads to heart attack, stroke and diabetes. If you ask people who lived the longest on our planet, they will all tell you that social engagement and good relationships are what matters most – even more than exercising.

So yes, friends are key to improving your life. Sometimes, telling your friends how you feel, sharing good news and enthusiastically responding to their good news can improve your relationships and the quality of your life in general.

Want to instantly become happier and look and feel younger? Build relationships and do kind things for your friends and family!


Rosemary Richards
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