As we age, we undergo a lot of changes. It is not only our body that changes, so do the circumstances surrounding us—children leaving and off to start a family of their own, loss of friends and loved ones, retirement, and declining health, among others. However, aging does not mean that we should no longer take care of ourselves. There are secrets to keeping a great elderly health.
Eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle are important especially in old age. Knowing its importance, we decided to share with you some essential health tips for seniors.
The importance of balanced diet for the elderly
Part of aging is a change in the body. As we age, our diet also changes. Our metabolism decreases, the taste and smell are altered, and the digestive process becomes slower. These affect how the body will process the food we intake. Thus, these healthy eating tips for seniors can be a life-saver.
As a rule, seniors must avoid saturated fat, refined carbs and sugary foods. They need to eat more foods that are loaded with essential nutrients. These foods include vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber fruits.
The following are essential nutrients that seniors need the most: proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates, water, minerals, and vitamins. Aside from eating nutritious foods, seniors must also take plenty of water and other fluids. All these are important in maintaining a balanced and healthy diet.
Seniors are more at risk for various health conditions, including heart diseases, memory problems, strokes, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease, visual problems, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. All these conditions are caused or impacted by unhealthy diet. Thus, the elderly need to take care of their health more seriously.
Proper diet is only about what to eat and what not to eat. It is also about how much to eat. Here’s a rule of thumb: everything must be taken in moderation. Eating large portions, even of healthy foods, can still be bad for you due to high caloric intake. Speaking of calories, avoid “empty calories,” which are foods that are high in calories but don’t have nutritious benefits. These include donuts, cookies, sodas, and chips.
For certain health conditions, there are special dietary restrictions imposed. For instance, those who have kidney disease or heart problems are not allowed to eat salty foods. Seniors with diabetes are also required to limit their carbohydrate and sugar intake.
Exercise for seniors: Why is it important
Living healthy is not only about eating healthy. Another important component is exercise. Studies show that exercise is an important factor to a healthier and longer life. There are lots of benefits of exercise, especially to seniors. It improves sleep, maintains and improves agility and strength, boosts mental health, and increases vitality. It helps prevent cognitive decline, memory loss, and dementia as well.
If you pair a balanced diet with regular exercise and physical activity, you prevent or manage certain health problems. These health issues include heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, muscle weakness, diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and even depression.
Here a summary of health benefits of exercising for seniors:
- Keeping the bones and muscles healthy.
- Optimizing respiratory and cardiovascular health.
- Improving physical endurance.
- Burning excess calories and bad cholesterol.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Enhancing overall mood.
- Improving sleep duration and quality.
- Reducing risks for fall.
- Efficiently delivering nutrients and oxygen to the tissues.
However, not all exercises are recommended for the elderly. The key is effective exercising. Some of the safe exercises for seniors are walking, balance exercises, resistance exercises, flexibility exercises, and exercise machines. Recommended exercise for seniors is 3-5 times a week, for around 30 minutes each session.
Stop exercising if you are not feeling well, especially if you experience any of these symptoms: fainting, dizziness, shortness of breath, tightness or chest pain. Raise these concerns to your physician.
Sleep in the elderly: What is normal
Sleep quality is important for the seniors. The problem is, many older adults develop sleep problems and require senior care specialist assistance to manage them. These problems include daytime sleepiness, insomnia, and frequent night-time waking.
If you have sleep problems, it is important that you develop a healthy sleep habit and make your room as sleep-inducing as possible. Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable. Avoid artificial light and don’t use a gadget at least an hour before sleeping. It also helps if you stay active during the day. Since we all have different sleeping habits, develop a bedtime ritual of your own, like playing music or taking a bath before bed.
Old age affects the physical, mental, social, sexual, and emotional aspects of our lives. We naturally “decline” with age. However, we can take proactive steps to stay as healthy as we can. Sleep well, regularly exercise, eat healthy, and live life to the fullest.