When we get older, it’s inevitable that our bodies will change. Even the healthiest of seniors will feel like they have less energy and that their ability to lead an active lifestyle has been diminished. However, there are a number of steps that we can all take to improve our quality of life, no matter our age. These energy-boosting habits will make you or your elderly relatives feel like a spring chicken once more. Read on to find out more.
Get More Exercise
You probably knew this one was coming. There’s a reason that physical activity is recommended to those of all ages – it’s extremely good for you. Don’t be led to believe that just because you’re older, you’ve missed your chance to benefit from exercise. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that those who took up exercise at any age could add years to their life. Over-75s with the healthiest lifestyles lived an average of almost 5.5 years longer than their activity-averse peers. Of course, added longevity is not the only upside of exercise. Exercising seniors will find that they have more energy and that their bodies are better able to adapt to challenging situations, such as infections and other illnesses. In fact, exercise could stop your brain from shrinking.
Maintain a Strong Social Life
It has long been known that emotional wellbeing, usually obtained by means of a circle of friends, is associated with superior health outcomes in later life. It can be hard to find new social contacts, but there are a number of solutions available. For starters, anybody who is looking to take up exercise can meet new people by joining a sports club. This is convenient as you are killing two birds with one stone. Alternatively, you could join an organisation which aims to promote learning amongst elderly people. Not only will you be keeping your mind sharp, but you’ll be meeting others who want to do the same thing. A good example of this kind of initiative would be the UK’s University of the Third Age.
Improve Your Diet
As with people of every age, it’s likely that your diet could be improved. A more balanced intake could give you more energy, allowing you to attend all of your new exercise classes and social functions. One thing in particular that many don’t realise is that older people are less able to absorb certain nutrients. For instance, research shows that up to 70% of the elderly are unable to properly absorb vitamin B12 from food sources, necessitating supplementation or a specialised diet. Other nutrients which should be targeted include vitamin D3, which our bodies create using sunlight, and iron, which prevents anaemia.
In case you do develop health problems or suffer an accident, it’s important to be prepared. Make sure that your records are up to date so that the hospital will know how to get in contact with your next of kin. If you have any pre-existing conditions or an allergy, it might be worth wearing personalised medical alert jewellery, so that paramedics and doctors can adjust care accordingly.
Last but not least, if you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit! It is never too late to stop. Even those who quit well into their life enjoy health benefits. There really is no excuse.