We can all agree on one thing. The importance of health! Sometimes it can be easy to take good health and vitality for granted. As we age, it can become to try to look for different ways to stay healthy. As minor issues become bigger issues, life can seem to become difficult at times, but ways we can keep active daily to increase our quality of life.
- Move! Staying physically active is critical in starting and keeping a healthy lifestyle. I know we see it everywhere, but it’s true! Whether it is adding in a weekly walk with a friend or family member, lifting light dumbbells twice a week, using the exercise bike every day, or opting for the stairs more often, the sky is the limit when it comes to adding more movement to your daily life. Moving the body often helps circulate blood flow to all the vital organs including the brain. Your body is meant to move!
- Talk to others. Being social is a big part of life. We may not think of it as a way to stay healthy, but being social is so important. Talking to new people can give us a different perspective on many things, and keep our minds active. Going out of our way to talk to people who may come from a different background, have different hobbies, or be from a different generation can broaden our spectrum of knowledge and experience. We will never know everything the world has to offer if we keep to ourselves, so being social, asking questions, and learning from others is something we can do every day to maintain our vitality.
- Read. Another way we can keep our minds healthy and active is by constantly learning. What better way to learn than read? Reading anything will stimulate the brain and keep it active. Whether it is reading the newspaper every day, reading a new fiction book every month, or reading a children’s book to a loved one, reading is a wonderful way to keep up our mental health.
- Play Games. Who doesn’t want to have fun? Playing games with other residents or visitors is a We see families visiting their loved ones to have leisurely card games or putting puzzles together. Practicing games of skill often is a good way to keep our mental activity healthy. Other games that are more physical, like shuffleboard and pool would be good options to keep moving while working on some mental skills!
- Geta a Variety of Nutrition. Nutrition is a major factor in our health, if not the most important factor. Getting a variety of nutrients in our diet is what I believe to be the most important aspect of nutrition. It’s totally okay to eat things that we want to eat, but making sure we get good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats is critical in keeping our bodies running correctly and staying in good health. We also want to stay aware of our food intake, and make sure that we aren’t eating either too little or too much. As we get older, our bodies don’t need to consume quite as many calories, but it is very important that we get the nutrients we need. Getting a variety of vegetables and fruits in the diet, especially green vegetables, make sure all the micronutrients that help us function are present to keep our bodies going. Protein is also very important to keep our muscles and tissues growing healthy. Good proteins include lean meats like fish, turkey, and chicken, yogurt, and eggs. Carbohydrates are more important to have in our diets than many may think. Not all carbs are “good” carbs, but we need carbs for energy and daily function. Good carbs include complex grains like oatmeal and sprouted grain bread, starches like sweet potatoes, as well as all vegetables and fruits. Fats are important in our diet as well, especially for brain health. Too much fat may not be a good thing, but good fats can include avocado, nuts, fish, olive oil and coconut oil.
- Stay Hydrated. In addition to nutrition, staying hydrated is also very important for life in general. I would have to guess that most people do not get enough water intake on a daily basis. One of the best times to drink water is right upon waking up. A suggestion is to drink one or two glasses at that time. This will help activate our organs. Water also helps aid in digestion, so drinking at least a glass with each meal will be beneficial. We don’t want to get muscle cramps, which are a sign of dehydration, so drinking a glass of water at meals and before an activity is a good idea. Again, proper hydration goes along with proper nutrition when it comes to overall health, so when in doubt, drink a glass of water!
- Be in Nature. Being in nature is a great way to disconnect from a busy mind, to relax, and to connect with the earth. Taking in a great fresh breath of air outside is one of the most relaxing and refreshing things to do. Being out on a sunny day can help with our mood, and it is a good way to get some vitamin D. Being in nature can help reduce anger, anxiety, and stress. There are many studies around that show other health benefits associated with being in nature, like helping regulate blood pressure and boosting mental health.
- Keep Good Hygiene. Good hygiene is important when it comes to physical health. Making sure we bathe daily is the best way to keep germs away and avoid sickness. Keeping a hygiene routine will also help with mental health. Staying on a regular daily schedule for things like this is a good way to keep organizational skills and stay on track.
- Smile. s we all generally know, when a person is smiling, they are happy! People want to be around other people who are smiling. We don’t want to be around people that seem grumpy. Also, smiling is contagious. Who doesn’t want to spread a little joy? Smiling is good for our overall health!
- Pick Up a Creative Hobby. Just like reading, a good way to continue to constantly learn is to try new things. Trying different hobbies is a good way to keep both the body and mind busy and stimulated. Creative hobbies can be things like painting, knitting, planting, or writing. I enjoy art and writing, and find that doing these kinds of activities helps to relieve stress. We can also make our hobbies into social activities if we invite our friends and family members to join and share.
This is just a start to the list of habits to live by in order to stay both physically and mentally fit. The sky really is the limit when it comes to new habits to form. Movement and nutrition are key when it comes to long lasting health. Keeping every aspect of our lives in balance is also important. We need to consider our physical body, emotional body, mental body, and spiritual body when it comes to our health. When everything is balanced, our quality of life improves. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to improving our quality of life. Life is a journey and we are here to experience and enjoy!