Spring is here! The new season sparks fresh beginnings as we get more sunlight in our day, and what better time to take advantage of the new season than to make some healthy lifestyle choices. As such, dieting and regular exercise are the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, and some cancers can be prevented or easily treated in seniors with a combination of dieting and daily exercise. (1)

Dieting
Changes in your daily diet can be an essential part of staying healthy. The definition of healthy eating may change as you age, however these general rules are a good start for picking the right foods for you: (4)

  • Knowing Important Nutrients: Having a variety of foods ensures you receive all the nutrients you need.
    • Lean Protein (Lean meats, seafood, eggs, & beans)
    • Fruits and Vegetables (the more color the better!)
    • Whole Grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
    • Low-fat Dairy (milk and milk alternatives)
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label: Whole foods are the healthiest foods. These are typically found in the produce, meat, and dairy sections. Be a smart shopper! Reading labels allows you to find items that are:
    • High in Fiber
    • Low in Sodium and Salt
    • High in Vitamin D
  • Eat Enough Fiber: Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. Including high fiber foods in your meals can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. A few good sources of fiber include: (3)
    • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Nuts and Seeds
    • Beans and Lentils
    • Oats and Oat Bran

As you grow older, your own metabolism begins to slow down. You may need to eat fewer calories than before but at the same time your body requires certain amounts of specific nutrients. Staying mindful of the food choices you make is more important than ever so that you get the best nutritional value. (4)

Exercising
The health benefits of regular exercise shouldn’t be underestimated. Exercise and daily physical activity are known to control or even prevent a variety of health conditions for the elderly. Beneficial benefits to your daily life may include:

  • More Energy
  • Reducing Falls and Injuries
  • Enhancing Mood and Sleep Quality

Exercising 20-30 minutes a day promotes the release of endorphins, which are essential neurotransmitters linked to pain mitigation and sense of well-being. They combat stress hormones, promote healthy sleep, and make you feel livelier and more energetic overall! (1) Some work outs that you can do from the comfort of your home are:

  • Chair Yoga
  • Walking
  • Body Weight Workouts

However, there are a number of exercises that you should avoid if you are over the age of 65. These workouts are popular among younger adults but would cause an unhealthy amount of strain on older adults:

  • Heavy-weight Training
  • Long-distance running
  • Rock Climbing
  • Abdominal Crunches
  • High-Intensity Interval Training

It’s good that you’re trying to push yourself, but always think about your health and safety when exercising.

It Starts With You!

Every choice to change starts with you. Nutrition and exercise are essential parts of a healthy lifestyle that becomes more apparent as you get older. Though physical fitness can benefit anyone at any age, the health benefits physically fit seniors enjoy are known and more notable. Everyone has different reasons for staying healthy. Find yours!

Resources

1. Emedicinehealth
(https://www.emedicinehealth.com/healthy_lifestyles_for_seniors/article_em.htm#healthy _lifestyle_changes_for_seniors)

2. FamilyDoctor.org (https://familydoctor.org/healthy-habits-at-age-60-and-beyond/)

3. Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-eating-for-seniors#healthy-diet)

4. National Council on Aging (https://www.ncoa.org/article/healthy-eating-tips-for-seniors)

5. Senior Lifestyle (https://www.seniorlifestyle.com/resources/blog/7-best-exercises-for-seniors-and-a-few-to-avoid/)