Seniors in film are often portrayed as weak, ailing, or even on their deathbeds. In reality, many (if not most) seniors are actively engaged in the world until their dying day. Just because you’ve been over the hill and through the woods doesn’t mean life as you knew it is over.
Attending to your body’s needs is not the same as giving up. Acknowledge that your body is aging, and then take appropriate measures to keep it as healthy as possible. If you take care of yourself and continue to exercise the parts of you that still work, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to be the same person you’ve always been. By following these 5 tips, you may find yourself feeling better and more positive than ever!
1. Stay Active
Staying active doesn’t only mean exercising. It can be as simple as going outside for some fresh air or visiting with a friend. If you have high mobility, consider visiting a gym and working with a personal trainer. If you have a disability or health problems, you can still find ways to remain active and motivated without pushing yourself too far.
Try to reserve downtime for naps and evenings only. Inactivity can lead to more serious health problems down the line, so keeping your body active will keep you healthier and happier for longer. As you get older, having a shapely body may seem less important, but having a healthy body is crucial.
2. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are all about chemicals. Many of these chemicals can (and do) throw off your body’s normal functionality, leading to diabetes and heart disease or weakening your immune system. Ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat) can even be deadly if consumed often enough.
Processed foods usually lack the nutrition you need to stay healthy. Some processed foods may add vitamins, but they’re no substitute for a fresh, home cooked meal. In processing, many vital nutrients can be lost, causing us to seek our nutrition elsewhere, like in supplements. Try to stay away from artificial ingredients; the fresher you eat, the fresher you’ll feel.
3. Exercise Your Brain
Keeping your mind active is just as important as staying physically active. Use your brain often to keep it sharp; avoid too much routine. Take your mind to the gym every day by doing things that require critical thinking, such as keeping a detailed journal or playing mind games. Getting into a debate with someone is another great way to keep those neurons firing on all cylinders.
Participating in a web forum discussion, reading nonfiction, or learning a new skill are also excellent activities for stimulating your brain. Or, consider writing a “Great American Novel.” There’s no time like the present to get started on projects you wish you’d done when you were younger—and the only thing standing in your way is you.
4. Get out of the House
Staying cooped up in your home is neither healthy nor productive. If you want to make a difference in the world, you’ve got to be out in it. Many people throughout history have done amazing things in their later years, despite infirmities or disabilities. You don’t need to be a Mother Theresa or Ghandi, but you should follow your own path!
Even if fresh air is hard to come by in your area, taking a stroll through the neighborhood and having a change of scenery is good for your health and your head. Going outside regularly can stave off depression—and you’ll often get to meet new people.
5. Keep up with Current Events
As you age, it can be easy to slip into your own little world and forget about things going on outside your home. But, failing to keep up with current events can have a negative impact on your psyche. You could end up feeling left behind or forgotten if people want to discuss an unfamiliar subject with you.
Additionally, knowing what’s going on in the world around you will make you feel more connected. Newspapers and magazines, television, and the internet are all within easy reach, and they’ll keep you updated on current events. If you don’t have an internet connection in your home, most libraries provide a technology lab where you can reserve time on a computer and catch up on things.
The Bottom Line
An aging body doesn’t have to mean an aging lifestyle. If you have been looking forward to retirement, go for it! But even in retirement, staying active and eating right can not only extend your lifespan, but will also make your quality of life much, much better. Nobody truly knows when they’ll die, so there’s no point in waiting around for it. Get up and do what you can, and you’ll be happier for it.