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10 Healthy Habits for Over 65s to Adopt in 2019
Healthy habits are so important when you are over 65. It’s often said that the start of a year is the best time to press the reset button on many parts of your life, whether it’s giving up or taking up something, reading more books, spending more time with your family or starting your retirement. But with a new year, comes new pressure and by February, many of these ‘resolutions’ become lost and you begin to worry about your overall health all over again.
As May has appeared, thick and fast, there are indeed many realistic and sustainable ways to improve your health – and with this, you improve your quality of life, increase your chances of living longer, and generally feel more able to live a more fulfilled life.
Here are 10 ways the over 65s can develop healthy habits and wellness in 2019:
1. Get more fresh air and sunshine
Getting outside is important, even in inclement and cold weather. Being outdoors means topping up that all important Vitamin D (sunlight is THE best source), and walking is gentle but effective exercise, as well as being a social activity. If you aren’t able to get outside regularly, ensure you get plenty of Vitamin D via your diet and supplements, such as cod liver oil.
2. Eat a good diet
Your diet should be balanced and also meet your lifestyle. As you get older your body changes. You might not be so active as it’s natural that life becomes more sedentary, so your body needs fewer calories. According to Helping Hands, ‘As we get older, it’s not uncommon for our diets to change. That might simply be down to changes in tastes or having issues digesting certain foods.’ As well as this, your body doesn’t absorb minerals and vitamins in the same way. Your diet should supply you with the essential minerals and vitamins so be sure to eat balanced meals including lots of vegetables, fruit, lean protein, oily fish, and whole grains.
3. Stay hydrated
If you aren’t properly hydrated, you might experience thirst naturally, but also, headaches, fatigue, and even constipation and being dehydrated long term can lead to more serious problems. To stay hydrated, a daily fluid intake of at least 1.5 liters (2.5+ pints) is recommended. This should be water, fruit juice, and tea or coffee, rather than sugary and fizzy drinks.
4. Get enough good sleep
As you age, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. It doesn’t matter what age you are, your body needs good sleep to reenergize and rejuvenate so if your sleep quality is insufficient, take actions to improve it. A good bedtime routine is essential; avoid screen time before bed, have a cup of something warm to drink, take a soothing bath, and try to go to bed around the same time every night. It is also a good idea to avoid napping in the daytime. Being able to relax is important to try to avoid stress and over-exertion. If you find things getting on top of you or you can’t cope like you used to, consider the option of a carer living with you at home, so that they can help take off the pressures of household chores, etc.
5. Be social
Isolation is often an issue in old age. Resolve to stay social by keeping in touch with friends and family. Try to meet up often and if mobility is a problem, make regular phone calls for a catch-up or learn how to use one of the many available internet methods of talking face-to-face online. If you can get out and about, consider joining a club or a take up a new hobby.
6. Make your bed
It may seem trivial but research shows that making your bed in the morning starts your day off right and also makes it easier at bedtime. Being organized and up to date with your chores reduces stress and is good for your mental health.
7. Stay active
This doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym every week. Exercising means keeping your muscles supple and your heart healthy which can be achieved with gentle exercise such as walking. There are even effective exercises you can do sitting down. Do not rush into exercising hard if you are not used to it. Start slowly and build up.
8. Take care of your feet
Your feet have carried you for 65+ years so they deserve to be looked after. Simple foot care tips include wearing well-fitting shoes, keeping your feet moisturized and looking after your nails by trimming them regularly. If you develop corns, bunions or ingrowing toenails, see a chiropractor or your doctor.
9. Use your doctor
You should have regular health check-ups with your GP. They can monitor your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, etc, but also ensure that you undergo all relevant screenings. Don’t forget regular hearing and sight tests, and always be sure to have the annual flu jab. Also, don’t put seeing your GP if you are ill as minor illnesses or conditions easily exacerbate as you age.
10. Enjoy life
Being over 65 does not mean your life comes to a standstill. You have retired after many years of work, maybe you raised a family. Retirement is a time when you can do things you want to do and enjoy. All these healthy habits will keep you able to do those things be it going on holiday or taking up bird watching. Find things you love and do them.
Healthy habits should not feel onerous and should not be a major life change. Small steps can take you a long way to a healthy, happy, long life.
Getting old can be tuff, but implementing these tips and suggestions can help tremendously. Also, check out this article on obesity.
Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer with a passion for adventures. She loves to help people and was inspired to write about dementia after personal events. She wants to spread awareness about the effects it can have. When she isn’t writing, she is either out in the garden or curled up with a book.