As you grow older, you might be wondering how you can maintain your physical and mental health. Both are equally important but seem to decline as you age. However, there are things you can do to help maintain good physical and mental health. Let’s take a look!
Maintaining Good Physical Health As You Age
There are many ways that you can encourage better physical health as you get older. Here are a few simple yet helpful ways to encourage better physical well-being.
One of the best ways to make sure that you maintain good physical health as you grow older is by staying active. Physical activity helps you maintain your weight as well as encourages better mental health.
As you age, it is common for your muscle mass to start to decline. A great way for older adults to combat this is by exercising along with eating protein and getting plenty of vitamin D.
A simple way to add exercise to your routine is by walking. It was found that those who walk at least 8,000 steps a day have a decreased risk of death from all health-related problems compared to those that only walk about 4,000 steps a day. Decide to spend time outside each day which will help you get in extra steps and a good dose of vitamin D from the sun.
A few activities that will help you get in some extra physical activity include:
- Chair aerobics/yoga
- Tai Chi
It is important to note that you should check with your doctor before you begin any new exercise routines.
Healthy and Nourishing Food Choices
A great way to feel good and encourage healthy aging is by making nourishing food choices. This means choosing foods that will support your body and give you energy. Sometimes it can be overwhelming when it comes to eating healthy. If you aren’t sure where to start, begin simply by including protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat in your meals.
Another great resource is this guide to help you figure out what you should eat for your age. It gives helpful food suggestions as well as tips to encourage healthy eating.
Good sleep is an important key to aging well. This affects both your physical and mental health. A study was conducted on people in their 50s and 60s who received less than six hours of sleep at night. It was found that these people were at higher risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
If you have trouble sleeping well at night, consider what you eat during the day. Good sleep is associated with lower insulin levels, obesity, and heart disease. Consider setting up a regular bedtime each night and avoid naps too close to bedtime. If you participate in exercise during the day, that can also encourage better sleep.
Maintaining Good Mental Health As You Age
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health as you grow older. If you are worried about your mental health or want to encourage a strong mind, here are a few things to consider.
As we age, it is important to continue to use our minds to encourage good cognitive and mental health. A study was done on seniors aged 60 and older who engaged in learning a new skill over three months. Those who participated were found to have better memory function.
Not only does learning new skills help your brain function, but so do brain-stimulating activities. Activities like reading and word/number puzzles are great ways to do this. You may also want to consider doing puzzles, drawing, and doing crafts.
Staying connected to other people is very important for your mental health as you age. Social activity helps keep feelings of loneliness and depression at bay. Time with friends and family is a great way to stay connected with others. Online and in-person support groups, community centers, and churches are also ways to get to know other adults.
It is normal for us all to feel down at times, but when that feeling becomes the norm, it may be a sign of depression. Commonly, people deal with depression as they age due to deaths in the family, health problems, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), depression is not considered a normal part of aging.
It’s challenging to manage depression alone, but speaking with a doctor can put you on the path to recovery. Your primary care physician can examine you and evaluate whether you may benefit from a mental health professional.
Remember that as you age, it is important to take care of both your physical and mental health. At Greenbrook Medical, we specialize in senior care. We believe every senior should be given the time, care, and attention they deserve from their doctor. That’s why we have made it our mission to provide the best possible care for our patients. Contact us today for a consultation or to request an appointment with one of our geriatric doctors!