Growing older brings about a world of changes. No matter who you are, age ushers in new life stages, both welcome and unwelcome. And though the welcome ones can bring so much joy, it’s still easy to get wrapped up in the turmoil and feel resistant to the unwelcome ones.
However, acceptance is a powerful tool. Not only will it help you find contentment and peace with whatever life brings, but it will also empower you to find solutions. There are several simple, effective habits seniors can build to improve their quality of life. Here are some tips from Exygon Health and Fitness that will help you learn how to work with your mind and body to have healthy, happy golden years:
Exercise Every Day
Getting older can make staying active a challenge, but exercise is more important for seniors than almost any demographic. Older adults who exercise regularly spend 25% less time injured or disabled. Accidents such as slips and falls are often far more serious for older adults and can lead to a loss of muscle tone and balance that puts you at risk of worse injury down the line. Daily exercise can help keep you strong and steady — meaning you’re less likely to get hurt and better prepared to heal if you do.
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be useful. Whether you go to the gym, walk around the block, or do some gentle exercise indoors, you’re still doing what’s right for your body. Indeed, it’s important to pay close attention to how your body is responding to the exercise and adjust accordingly. Going too hard can lead to pain or even injury, which defeats the purpose. Listen to your body. Go at a pace that’s challenging, but still safe and comfortable.
Did you know very few American adults consume the daily recommended amount of water? Mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, and more. Plus, if you’re slightly dehydrated over long periods of time, it can increase your risk of more serious health issues. Sticking to a daily water goal can help you mitigate these issues, boost your energy, and feel healthier over time.
To start, check out an online calculator that can determine your daily water goal based on your body’s specific needs. Then, use an app or notebook to keep track of your water consumption throughout the day. The easiest way to stay on track is to keep a bottle of water with you or keep a cup on hand that you refill when it’s empty. Not a fan of plain water? You can use fruits or herbs to add flavor or enjoy a cup of tea instead — you’ll still get the liquid your body needs to thrive.
Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for older people to experience stress, anxiety, and sadness that is intense enough to impact their daily lives. Meditation is an excellent tool you can use to make difficult emotions more manageable. Often, anxiety begets anxiety. You find yourself thinking of a stressful topic, which leads to another stressful thought, then another — until you’re trapped inside that black hole of worry.
Meditation teaches your mind how to respond to thoughts differently. It teaches you how to recognize that a thought isn’t true just because you think it — nor are you beholden to where it wants to take you.
If you find that you frequently get lost in anxious thoughts, try a “leaves on a stream” meditation. Picture yourself in a forest, by a stream. When a thought pops into your head, imagine it is a leaf falling into the water. Watch as it gets carried along with the current and, eventually, out of sight. This will teach you the power of simply seeing your thoughts and watching as they enter and leave your consciousness — a tool you can carry with you beyond your meditative practice.
If you react to the challenges that come with aging with resistance, you’re more likely to cause more tension than if you simply accept and respond willingly. You can make choices that improve your quality of life for years to come. Empower yourself with the tools you need to create the golden years you deserve.
Written by Jason Lewis of StrongWell.org.