Tips for Improved Physical, Mental and Social Health for Seniors
One of the hardest parts of aging for most individuals is losing the ease at which you perform everyday tasks from carrying groceries into the house to remembering the recipe to your favorite dinner. While there’s no way to stop aging, there are actions you can take to age in a healthier manner. By maintaining physical, mental, and social health you can live a longer and more independent life.
Physical health refers to the condition of one’s body. Strong physical health and wellness allows the body to function properly. In addition to the physical condition of the body, physical health also includes proper sleep and diet. Below are some tips for improving and maintaining physical wellness.
- Incorporate cardio activities into your daily life. Exercises that increase the heart rate are considered cardiovascular activities. Cardio exercises are beneficial because they strengthen the heart. According to the American Heart Association, to maintain a healthy heart, you should aim toward doing 30 minutes of cardio five times a week. Some popular cardio activities that are safe for seniors include brisk walks, stair climbing and swimming.
- Build muscle with strength training. As we age, we lose muscle, which is why it’s important to continue building muscle through strength training. Strength training doesn’t have to mean lifting weights but instead finding activities to activate your muscles. Try workouts with resistance bands that are designed to build resistance as your progress, making it a safer alternative to free weights.
- Increase your flexibility with dynamic and static stretching. Improving your flexibility allows you to move more freely and makes it easier to perform everyday tasks. To improve your flexibility, you can incorporate stretching into your workout routine. Start your workouts with a dynamic stretch, or movement-based stretch, such as arm circles. After your workout, cool down with a static stretch, or non-movement stretch such as a seated hip stretch.
- Work on your balance. Having a strong sense of balance lessens your chance of falling; a common accident that occurs as we age. There are tons of balance exercises, but if you’re looking for a fun and unique way to improve your balance, try signing up for a local tai chi or yoga course.
Mental health refers to your psychological and emotional well-being. Having strong mental health allows you to regulate your emotions and think more clearly. Below are some activities for you to improve your mental wellness.
- Make a habit of reading daily. According to a study published by the American Academy of Neurology, seniors who regularly read show declining mental abilities at a 32% lower rate than those who do not. Create a habit of reading by grabbing a book, magazine, or newspaper at the end of each day and spend at least 20-30 minutes stimulating your mind.
- Talk to a therapist or psychiatrist. Finding licensed professionals to talk to has never been easier and it’s a great way to check-in with your mental health. If you’re unable to physically go to an office, check out online therapy sessions such as Talkspace or Betterhelp.
- Challenge yourself with a puzzle. Much like reading, puzzles are great for keeping cognitive skills sharp. They’re also beneficial for improving memory and strategic thinking. Some popular puzzles include jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, and crosswords. If you’re feeling more adventures, download an interactive puzzle game to your tablet or phone such as Best Fiends or Candy Crush.
Social health refers to your ability to build relationships and interact with others. As social creatures, it’s important to have strong relationships for support and motivation. Below are some ideas for strengthening your social health and meeting new people.
- Join a group exercise course. Exercise classes are not only great for improving your physical health and building an exercise routine, but you’ll also be able to interact with like-minded individuals who enjoy the same physical activities as you. Reach out to a local community center or gym to discover what exercise classes are available near you.
- Find a group meeting for your favorite hobby. Whether you’re into cooking, collecting cars, reading, or birdwatching, there’s a group of people out there intrigued by the same hobbies as you. If you’re not comfortable meeting strangers in a group setting, search for Facebook groups focused on your hobby and interact with a virtual community.
- Hire an outside caregiver. Having a caregiver outside of your immediate family is a great way to interact and build a relationship with a new person. Plus, at-home caregivers, such as the professionals at Visiting Angels Canton, can help you build healthy habits to make sure you’re improving your physical and mental wellbeing too. If you’re interested in learning more about our caregiving services, stop by our Canton office or give us a call at 330-497-5995.