Tips for Staying Healthy and Active in Your RetirementApril 4, 2023
There’s no doubt things change as you get older. Metabolism slows, hormone levels change, and you lose muscle strength, bone density and flexibility. That’s why healthy lifestyle choices are more important than ever. Here are some health-promoting suggestions for active seniors, and for older adults who’ve become less active over the years:
Get Moving: Activity Begets Activity
You’ve probably heard this for years, but it bears repeating because it’s so fundamental to good health: Keep moving your body. Regular physical activity offers a host of benefits that support healthy aging, including:
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Reduced joint stiffness, pain and swelling caused by arthritis
- Lower risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, dementia, high blood pressure and obesity
- Improved ability to perform the daily activities that support independence
- Better mood and overall sense of well-being
- Greater balance, flexibility and strength
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults get 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, plus strength training 2 days a week and activities that improve balance 3 times a week.
If these recommendations seem daunting, or if you’re hampered by sore knees or other health conditions, these tips can help you get started:
- Start slowly. Some physical activity is better than none, so if your first foray into exercise is to march in place during commercial breaks while you watch the big game, you’re off to a great start. As you gain confidence and stamina, you can slowly increase the amount of activity you get each week.
- Talk to your doctor. If you’re a healthy older adult who plans to gradually increase your physical activity levels, you probably don’t need to talk to a doctor beforehand. But if you have chronic conditions, develop new health concerns after increasing your activity level, or want suggestions for avoiding injuries, a visit with your doctor is recommended.
- Vary your workouts. Trying different types of physical activity will keep you from getting bored, lower the risk of injury, and help you work different muscle groups. Take senior fitness classes, try chair yoga or tai chi, dance, garden, walk your dog — it all counts!
- Have fun. Pairing exercise with enjoyable activities will make it easier for you to stay motivated. Recruit an exercise buddy. Listen to audiobooks or music, or watch a show while you walk on the treadmill.
Take Care of Yourself
You’ve probably spent decades taking care of family or tending to work responsibilities, so it can feel strange to focus your attention on your own needs. But as you get older, a little TLC can help you stay active and healthy. Here are some ways to be good to yourself:
- Nourish yourself. Choose a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and seafood, legumes, seeds and nuts. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks and foods, and foods made with solid fats, like butter, lard, margarine, or shortening.
- Engage your mind. Part of being an active senior is staying mentally active. Reading, taking classes, pursuing hobbies, and learning new skills can protect against cognitive decline as you get older.
- Stay social. Loneliness and isolation can be a concern for older adults, leading to a greater risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety. Connect frequently with friends and family, whether by text, email, in-person visits or video chats.
- Keep up with well-check visits and health screenings. Regular checkups with your doctor will help you stay up to date on important health screenings and catch potential health issues early. Your doctor can also recommend lifestyle choices that support healthy aging.
- Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep can leave you feeling healthier and more energetic. The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, or other issues are making it harder to get adequate rest, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.
A Thriving Lifestyle at Oaks Senior Living
In a retirement community like Oaks Senior Living, active seniors — including those who need a helping hand with daily activities — will discover services and amenities that support a healthy lifestyle. With wellness programs, dining venues, on- and off-campus entertainment opportunities, social events, and senior fitness classes, residents enjoy a wealth of life-enriching options as they choose how they want to spend each day. Contact us to learn more about our person-directed lifestyle or to schedule a visit at a community near you.