Would you describe yourself as young at heart? While it is expected of adults to act a certain way, many retain their youthful energy, enthusiasm, and sense of wonder from childhood. However, life can throw some major challenges our way that makes it difficult to feel optimistic and ready to face a new day.
One cannot turn back the clock, but there are ways to become more eager and able to get out of bed every morning. Here are some simple tips that can help seniors delay the physical and cognitive effects of aging.
Stay Physically Active
“Use it or lose it” is the principle when it comes to exercise in your golden years.
It’s true that the older you get, the stiffer you get; but this problem actually increases if you don’t move around. Even worse, you may find previously simple actions increasingly challenging to the point where you can’t do them without assistance.
As our bones become more fragile with age, the danger of falls increases greatly. Falls are the leading cause of injury among Canadians 65 and over and responsible for 85% of senior hospitalization cases.
Going for a simple 30-minute walk every day can do wonders to help you feel young. If that is too much to do at once, try splitting it into 10 or 15-minute increments. Supplement this activity with other low impact exercises like swimming, Tai Chi, Pilates, yoga, or golf.
Stay Mentally Active
Once our working years are behind us, it is tempting to spend much of the day in front of the TV. Unfortunately, TV almost never provides the mental stimulation we got on a daily basis from work, be it the job itself or the people we encountered throughout the workday.
You can make up for that in various ways. Read a book, or play cards and chess. Hobbies like painting, gardening (indoor or outdoor), and playing a musical instrument can help to keep your mind active and stimulated.
If you use the internet, try out some of the memory-enhancing brain games offered on the AARP website. There are also a number of smartphone apps available for seniors that offer the same mental benefits.
Not ready for the digital world? Old-fashioned board games, card games, and crossword puzzles offer the same advantages as computer games.
With mobility issues common among seniors, social isolation is a widespread problem for this age group. That is unfortunate because spending time with friends and family can add real spice to life.
Try to get out of the house whenever possible. You can also stay in touch via phone calls, emails, and online services like Skype. The latter is particularly good because it also has a video option, which means you can see the other person(s) on the call. That can be a great way to interact with anyone, particularly those who are far from your area.
Comfort food (or, as it is more properly known, junk food) is very tempting and there is no reason you can’t indulge once in a while. Unfortunately, a diet heavy in such fare robs you of energy and causes health issues that also slow you down.
Your dietary needs change with age; don’t even think about the high sugar and caffeine lifestyle you practiced for years on the job. Here is a detailed guide that can help seniors choose the diet that will meet their nutritional and energy requirements.
Try to Stay Positive
If you are facing personal challenges, it can be difficult to remain optimistic. Our 24-7 cable news and social media universes thrive on tragedy because it’s compelling and keeps people coming back. While these activities provide an escape from your trouble, you should restrict your TV and social media activity to only a couple of hours a day.
Also, try to let things go. Holding on to grudges for years at a time ends up doing you more harm than the person you’re angry with. Practice forgiveness and take steps to avoid negative people who leave you feeling sad or stressed.
Finding a purpose in life is very important, no matter what your age. Volunteering is a great way to give back, while also gaining a personal sense of accomplishment (and you can even do it from home with virtual volunteering). Laugh whenever possible, and remember that no matter how sure you are things will not work out, life almost never goes the way we expect.