Maintaining Positive Physical and Mental Health in Your Golden Years is Easier Than You Think!
As you age, it’s inevitable that you’re going to lose a little bit of the spring in your step. You may not be able to run as many miles as you used to, or you may believe you’ve lost a little bit of your touch when it comes to figuring out puzzles and word games.
That doesn’t mean that your physical and mental health need to fall to the wayside, though. If anything, it’s more important than ever in your golden years to keep your physical and mental health in tip-top shape! When you let your overall health go, your quality of life begins to decline. That’s when you can start getting into trouble with many of the chronic health issues that plague the senior population.
Taking steps to improve mental health and boost your physical health as a senior will ensure that you navigate your senior years happily and healthily. At Nursing Home Reviews, we’re proud to offer resources geared toward helping you live your best life as a senior citizen. That’s why, today, we’re bringing you five ways that seniors can boost their physical and mental health.
1: Exercise Regularly
One of the best ways to improve mental health and physical health as a senior citizen is to get some type of exercise in most every day. Scientists are constantly finding new links between regular physical exercise and mental health benefits for senior citizens.
Regular exercise is one of the best activities you can partake in to maintain positive physical and mental health. Some of the physical benefits of getting a recommended 2.5 to 5 hours of exercise per week include:
- Improved balance and stability
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved muscle strength and bone density
- Less risk of serious falls
Exercise also encourages increased release of endorphins. These are the “feel good” chemicals that stimulate happiness and joy in the brain. This explains why you feel so good after a workout, even if you’re experiencing some soreness!
Just a reminder: exercise never has to be strenuous, and you should always consult a doctor before taking on any kind of exercise program. Immediately jumping into a strenuous exercise routine can do more harm than good. It’s always best to start light, and maintain a pace and difficulty level that works for you. In fact, some of the best exercises that you can do as a senior include:
- Water aerobics
2: Try Your Hand at Gardening
Spending time in the great outdoors can be a great way to boost mental health for seniors. If you’re looking for a way to spend some time outside while doing low-key exercise that boosts your physical and mental health, why not try gardening?
Gardening is by and far one of the best ways to improve mental health as a senior citizen. You’re getting exercise that helps you boost those important endorphins, and knowing that you’re helping play a part in renewing the earth is great for self-esteem. Whether you’re simply growing flowers to improve your landscape, or you take part in a community garden that grows food to help sustain your community, gardening can help you vastly improve mental health.
On the physical side of things, gardening is exercise that doesn’t really feel like exercise. You’re moving around and getting plenty of fresh air, not realizing that you’re incorporating complex movements such as squats, curls, and bends, all of which help you maintain mobility. If you want a proper routine that’s rarely boring and always enriching, gardening is one of the best forms of physical exercise you can get.
3: Get a Pet
Few things are better for your physical and mental health than bringing a pet into your home. Whether you live independently or in a facility that allows pets, getting yourself a dog or a cat can be a huge mood boost, and regularly walking them and playing with them will help you get needed exercise.
Pets can help you boost your mental health by helping you feel less lonely, and they’re really good for helping you lower your anxiety and depression. Ask any pet owner: it’s tough not to feel good about life when you bring the love of a furry friend into your life. They also require plenty of play and time outdoors, which can help you maintain a routine of regular physical activity.
If you live in a retirement community or long-term nursing care facility, they may not allow pets. However, some of them tend to employ the use of comfort animals to help keep their residents company. This gives you some time to enjoy companionship like one would have with a pet, and can help you escape the doldrums if you ever find yourself feeling down.
4: Maintain a Healthy Diet
It’s very easy to overlook the effect that the food that we put into our bodies has on our physical and mental health. Getting regular exercise is one thing, but it’s also important to eat for good health. Maintaining a well-balanced, healthy diet not only helps you maintain great physical shape, it’s also one of the best ways to improve mental health.
In fact, there are numerous foods that have a positive effect on mental health for seniors. Some of the foods that can help you improve mental health include:
- Brown rice
- Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn, and peas)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, and wild fowl)
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds
Of course, eating a diet rich in lean proteins and low in sugars, fats, and simple carbohydrates can help you keep your body in peak physical shape. Also, to maintain peak physical and mental health, be sure to drink plenty of water, and avoid soft drinks.
5: Get Out and Socialize!
The last tip on our list is really best for mental health, but it can help you keep your physical health in check as well. As we age, we begin to feel incredibly isolated from family, friends, and community. This can cause serious feelings of loneliness and depression. This is why one of the best mental health tips we have for seniors is to get out and socialize.
Why is one of the best mental health tips for seniors to get out and socialize? Remaining socially active in your golden years is truly crucial to your mental health. If you live in a retirement community or a nursing facility, making time to take part in community activities can help you break out of your shell and stay connected to those who matter. Making sure your family and friends come to visit is equally important, as this helps you maintain a link to the ones you love.
If you live independently, going to your local senior center can help you combat feelings of isolation. By taking the classes offered to your local senior community, you give yourself the opportunity to make new friends and connect with others.
Few things are better for mental health for seniors than maintaining a social life. No one wants to feel alone and forgotten. The more social you are in your golden years, the better you’re most likely to feel.
It’s Incredibly Important to Take Good Care of Yourself As You Age
There are plenty of physical and mental health tips we could continue to give. However, if we listed them all here, we could go on forever! Hopefully, this quick list can help you start keeping your physical and mental health in check in your senior years. After all, you want your golden years to be as happy and healthy as they can!