6 Easy Habits That Deliver Big Health Rewards

| March 23, 2018 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

It’s no secret that staying active is essential to a long, healthy life. But for many seniors – especially those with arthritis and other age-related ailments – starting a new exercise routine may seem like a monumental task. Rather than let aches and pains or fears of torturous cardio sessions deter them, seniors may need to simply reframe their idea of a healthy lifestyle. In a nutshell: It’s all about choosing low-impact, big-benefit activities that deliver physical AND emotional benefits.

  • Water aerobics

    Slipping into a warm pool is pleasurable on its own and a great way to socialize, too. Adding in simple aerobics moves not only burns calories but also delivers increased flexibility and strength and improved balance. The water reduces stress on and also provides muscle-building resistance and protects seniors for falling.

  • Gardening

    Getting outside and exercising that green thumb is good for the plants, sure, but this low-impact activity also burns calories and improves flexibility, coordination, and muscle and cardiovascular health. The emotional benefits are nothing to scoff at, either –fresh air and vitamin D are automatic mood boosters, and if you join a gardening club or volunteer at a local botanical garden, you’ll also meet like-minded friends.

  • Yoga

    Equal parts exercise and stress relief, yoga is an ideal low-impact activity for seniors. Just one or two weekly classes will result in improved flexibility, balance, strength, and even digestion. The benefits are well documented – people who practice regularly are 40 percent less likely to suffer from chronic disease. Most classes also teach powerful mindfulness techniques, which means you can carry the blissful yoga mindset outside the studio.

Because a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about exercise, here are a few additional small steps seniors can take that will make a big difference in their overall well-being:

  • Drink plenty of water

    One in three older adults may not be getting enough fluids to stay healthy. Water helps maintain a normal body temperature, cushions joints, protects sensitive tissues, and aids digestion. Six to 8 cups of fluid each day is recommended.

  • Learn something new

    When you learn something new, you retain and improve cognitive functioning. Even small brain exercises, such as tackling a daily crossword puzzle or attending a one-hour lecture, can help keep your brain in tip-top shape.

  • Reach out to a friend

    Social isolation and loneliness are associated with an increased risk of mortality in adults age 52 and older. Reach out to friends and family daily, whether it’s through a quick phone call, joining your pals for lunch, or chatting during an activity.

     Zack Brandmeyer

    Wellness Coordinator at Bethesda Health Group

 

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