Although we don’t have much say when it comes to getting older, we do have some say when it comes to how we age. According to a study published by CNN Health, an online resource that provides information on a wide range of health topics, the average American can expect to live 78.6 years. That said, the best way for seniors to achieve or even surpass this life expectancy is by exercising regularly and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. After all, eating right and staying physically active has been shown to help fend off chronic diseases, not to mention many of the aches and pain that come with getting older.
Studies show that 18 million seniors are struggling with limited mobility as a byproduct of aging. Physical activity has been shown to help prevent or minimize the effects of arthritis, improve bone health, and strengthen muscles, all of which can improve mobility while reducing the risk of falls. Regular exercise can also improve stamina and lower the risk of developing chronic diseases, some of which include colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. And the benefits do not end there; according to a study published by the National Institute on Aging, aerobic exercises, for example, can help improve memory. The study found that exercising increases the size of an individual’s hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for short and long-term memory.
Despite the numerous health benefits associated with regular exercise, some seniors believe that engaging in any form of physical activity will increase their chances of falling and being severely injured. Many also believe that they are too out of shape to exercise. If any of this resonates with you, you will be happy to know that there are plenty of low-impact aerobic exercises that you can do without worrying about falling. We would, however, recommend doing these exercises with someone close to you or a companion so that you feel at ease. And best of all, these exercises are not overly taxing on the body. According to Silver Sneakers, a program that encourages older adults to participate in physical activities, some of the best exercises for seniors include:
While eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is always a good idea, it becomes increasingly important as we get older. For this reason, most dieticians and nutritionists will encourage individuals over the age of 65 to eat the following foods for good overall health:
Fiber – Along with keeping you regular, eating whole grains, legumes, and other fiber-rich foods can help reduce high cholesterol, inflammation, and even high blood pressure.
Fatty Fish – For seniors, one of the best ways to go about improving joint health and mobility is by consuming fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines. These types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce the intensity of numerous joint symptoms, some of which include stiffness, tenderness, and swelling.
Blueberries – Along with being delicious, blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E, all of which can help the body fight off illnesses while keeping cells healthy.
Tomatoes – Like blueberries, tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, which can help fight off many of the free radicals that contribute to illnesses. However, they also contain lycopene, a compound that has been shown to protect against prostate and lung cancer.
Yogurt – Given that bone loss is common among older adults, primarily due to diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia, it would be a good idea to consume more yogurt. After all, this delicious dairy product is an excellent source of vitamin D, which the body uses to absorb the calcium, a mineral that supports strong bones and teeth.
All in all, there are many things that seniors can do to improve their chances of living a longer and healthier life. But please start with small changes first before going all-in on any new food or exercise routine, and have a friend, relative, or companion by your side.