Physical Health For an Active Adult Life
You’re never too old or too out of shape to take charge of your health. Keep reading for quick tips to on how improve your quality of life by making your mind and body a priority.
Elderly Depression, Not an Inevitability
One of the biggest concerns for seniors is depression. Between a dwindling social network, waning health, and financial concerns, it’s no wonder that depression affects up to 13.5 percent of the 65 and up crowd in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, depression is not a normal part of aging. If you notice yourself losing interest in things you normally enjoy, are more fatigued than usual, or see a significant pattern fluctuation in your eating and sleeping habits, it’s time to pay attention to your mental health. Fortunately, as Qunomedical points out, depression is a treatable condition and one you don’t have to live with.
There are many self-care techniques to help you ease depression. Start by taking a look at your diet. It’s well accepted that sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other processed foods are unhealthy for the body, but they can also wreak havoc on the mind. Eat This, Not That notes that those who regularly eat fast food experience depression at a rate significantly higher than everyone else. Swap your drive-through dinners with homemade versions of your favorite meals. For instance, if you enjoy chicken nuggets and French fries, prepare a plate with grilled chicken tenders and a baked potato instead.
The food you eat isn’t the only factor that affects your mental health. Loneliness and isolation are also risk factors. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family when you need someone to talk to. There are also many senior-oriented groups across the country that cater to interests from reading to travel. Pay a visit to your local community or senior center to see what’s available.
Physical Activity for Senior Wellness
It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 65, physical activity is imperative to your health. Not only does getting an adequate amount of exercise lower your chances of accident, injury, and disease, it can also improve your enjoyment of life. While you may not be able to lift weights or run marathons, there are plenty of low impact exercises that will improve your circulation and increase muscle flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and overall physical strength. This 15-minute Senior Workout video from HasFit is a great place to start.
In addition to your activities, you must also treat your body right by paying attention to your personal hygiene practices. You may not realize it, but your self-care routine can enhance both your physical and mental health. Senior Health 365 explains that poor personal hygiene can lead to skin infections, parasitic infestations, and, when extended to your home-cleaning habits, may trigger gastrointestinal disorders and even food poisoning. If arthritis or mobility concerns have made it more difficult to manage your personal hygiene, consider hiring a home health aide to provide assistance and replace your traditional bathtub with a walk-in model that eliminates the need for extreme bending and stooping.
Sleep Changes As You Age
While mental health disorders are not at all part of the aging process, changes to your sleep patterns are. Even if you’re not depressed, your sleep architecture and circadian rhythm can change suddenly, leading to poor sleep, which has a host of negative consequences, including irritability and reduced reaction times. Talk to your doctor if you experience fatigue throughout the day and don’t feel rested, even after being in bed for seven or more hours.
Making small lifestyle changes now really can have an impact on your health. Start by eating a balanced diet, addressing issues associated with depression, and adding physical activity to your daily schedule. You may never have a 20-year-old body again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t care for the skin you’re in.