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Good health is very much about good habits. This is true for everyone, but it becomes even more significant as we grow older. Changes in how our bodies work are natural and inevitable, but an overall decline in health doesn’t have to be. This is why regular healthy habits like the ones provided here can make a world of difference in the quality of life and longevity of senior citizens.
This is by far the most important regular habit seniors should be practicing for their health. Regular exercise helps keep your body in shape, maintaining important skills like flexibility, balance, and strength, which in turn reduces the risk of falls and injuries. It keeps you mobile and independent for longer, and it also has a hugely beneficial effect on mental health.
All seniors can do some form of exercise, and it can be as gentle as you need it to be. Swimming, cycling, and the elliptical are great for those with bad knees, while yoga and tai chi are both popular options for restoring balance and strength.
How Often: Several times a week, totaling at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity
Many people neglect their dental care, as it never quite seems as important as other parts of the body. However, oral hygiene has been linked to several other body systems such as digestion, immunity, and even mental health, with depression, often being both a cause and a consequence of poor dental care.
How Often: At least twice a year, more if you have specific issues
Medicare is a wonderfully useful service, but it can be quite complicated, and many seniors are not always sure of what coverage they are getting. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, this becomes even more complex, since there are thousands of plans with different coverage options that include dental or vision care.
It’s a good idea to review your Medicare coverage regularly so you know you are getting what you need. Check out plans offered by providers like Aetna to see if you might benefit from a change.
How Often: Once a year, during the Medicare Enrollment Period
According to the World Health Organization, seniors are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. It’s very easy for older adults to let their eating habits slip, especially if they live alone. It’s too easy to live on a diet of snacks and processed convenience foods, which is the worst possible option for your health.
It’s crucial to maintain a varied, nutritious diet based on vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Using a meal or ingredient delivery service could be a great way to achieve this: Urban Tastebud has a detailed guide to the leading brands that can help you choose the best one for you.
Lack of appetite due to illness or medication is also common. In this case, you should increase the nutrient density of your foods, set a clear eating schedule, and try to arrange meals with others whenever possible.
How Often: Every day
This is a challenge for many seniors due to mobility problems, isolation, or depression. Whatever the cause, seniors should do their best to leave the house at least once a day, even if it’s for a short walk around the block, to run an errand, or to go see a friend.
Research has shown that leaving the house regularly is directly linked with longevity in older adults. This is independent of mobility issues, so it’s not about movement, it’s about interacting with the world around you and feeling like part of society.
How Often: Every day
As a senior, it’s a good idea to stay organized and keep track of your habits and routine. You can do this by using a habit tracker (either making your own or buying a ready-made one), which will give you a visual representation of how well you are doing. Building a solid and regular routine will also give you a sense of structure, which can be extremely beneficial for your mental well-being, and will help you stay in control of your health as you age.