Once you’re over sixty-five, the world becomes your oyster.
Your confidence and lust for life are at an all-time high. You’re far less likely to be weighed down by responsibility and obligations. And you have more time on your hands to experience new things and widen your social circle.
It’s also the perfect time to develop new healthy habits that can keep you looking and feeling fighting fit for the decades to come.
Here are ten easy and fun healthy habits that those of you who are over sixty-five can incorporate today so you can keep enjoying everything that life has to offer.
1. Eat a healthy diet
Looking and feeling your best isn’t just about staying slim once you’re over sixty-five.
It’s also important that you maintain a balanced diet that’s rich in nutrition and forget about counting calories or fat.
You’ll feel more energetic, look and feel younger and maybe even find that dealing with aches and pains isn’t as challenging as it was before.
Make sure you’re eating plenty of colorful fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds plus oily fish, dairy and meat (if you’re not following a plant-based diet).
Avoid eating highly processed foods and refined white flour foods such as white pasta, white rice and white bread. Instead, fall in love with cooking from scratch to easily give your vitamin and mineral intake a boost.
2. Become active
Staying active and strong when you’re over sixty-five will help you sleep better at night, lift your mood, improve your circulation and even make you feel more energetic than before. That’s why those who are sixty-five and older should include exercise in their daily lives.
Aim to keep yourself moving every day- walk as much as possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator and appreciate that any type of exercise, even housework is good for you.
The NHS recommends that you also do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, the type that has you feel slightly out of breath and breaks a sweat. You should also do strength training exercises twice per week.
But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you have to sign up for the gym especially right now while we’re all self-isolating. Instead, find some online exercises you love to do like Pilates, Zumba or salsa. Once we’re able to be out and about again, take up a sport that you’ve always wanted to try or start swimming.
If you’re not in the best of shape, go easy on yourself. Start small and build up step by step. It will be worth it!
3. Do something you love every day
Having fun and doing things that bring you pleasure every day is just as important as eating well and getting enough exercise. As well as helping you to enjoy life, it will also reduce your stress levels, boost your immune system and protect you against several types of illness.
Even if it’s just doing a crossword puzzle, meeting your friends for lunch, popping over to the local library for a stack of new books, visiting family or sitting with a cup of tea in your garden, it’s very much worth doing.
According to Helping Hands, baking can also be an excellent choice, “Whipping up treats in the kitchen can do more than just create delicious and buttery goodness, it’s also a great way to spend quality time with your loved one while reaping the mental health benefits.”
4. Enjoy the sunshine
Did you know that the sunshine is our best source of vitamin D?
While you are outside relaxing and enjoying the sensation of the sun on your skin, your body is working hard to convert it to vitamin D which helps keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy, lifts your mood and helps combat SAD Syndrome.
Get outside into the sunshine for at least 15-20 minutes per day or even longer if you have darker skin.
It’s also a good idea to take a supplement or include eggs and oily fish in your diet.
5. Sleep like a baby
When you sleep, your body repairs any muscle or skin damage you’ve incurred during the day gets rid of waste products and rejuvenates your entire body. It also keeps you feeling happy, boosts your immune system and helps you feel young.
That’s why you should do everything you can to get a great night’s sleep.
If you struggle to drop off or find that you wake up during the night, there are several things you can do.
Start by developing a regular bedtime routine. Consider taking a warm bath before bed, enjoy a hot drink, turn off any screen at least an hour before bed and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
6. Watch your alcohol intake
Although it can be fun to enjoy a glass or two of something alcoholic with friends, it can have a significant impact on your health.
It can disrupt your sleep patterns, damage your liver, affect your hormone levels and cause dehydration. It’s worth reducing your intake as much as possible and only have a drink once in a while.
Aim to go alcohol-free at least twice a week and make sure you never exceed the daily recommended limits for alcohol consumption.
7. Socialize more!
Make sure to stay in touch with friends and family and make new ones too. Even if you can’t do this in person, use technology like Skype, WhatsApp and text messages to stay in touch.
Once we are able to get out of our homes again . . .
You should also consider getting involved with activities outside of the home that helps you meet new people and expand your social circle.
Why not become a volunteer or fundraise for a charity you’ve always been passionate about? You could also try a new hobby or get more deeply involved with hobbies and activities you’ve always loved?
There’s no reason not to pursue your dreams!
8. Keep up with regular medical exams
Once you’re over sixty-five, it’s more important than ever to see your doctor on a regular basis. This includes mammograms, cholesterol checks, blood pressure checks, hearing, vision, and dental exams.
Make sure you take advantage of testing that is available to you. They’ll help you spot any potential problems early and give you a better chance of treating them effectively.
9. Give up smoking
You already know that smoking is bad for you. It makes your wrinkles and fine lines worse. It makes your skin look terrible. It has also been linked to various illnesses such as cancer, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease and so on.
But did you know that it can also worsen your brain health and potentially cause dementia?
According to a well-known study published back in 2012 by King’s College London, “Elevated cardiovascular risk may be associated with accelerated decline in cognitive functioning in the elderly.”
This means that every puff you take is making your brain older.
The good news is that it’s never too late to stop. Ask your GP or local health clinic for details where you can get support to help you go through the process to stop smoking.
10. Look after your teeth
It’s astonishing to think that your teeth have been helping you to enjoy your food for more than 50 years now! That’s why you must remember to take good care of them.
Ensure that you’re brushing and flossing regularly, visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and immediately report any problems to ensure that your smile continues to sparkle.
You don’t have to be over sixty-five to adopt one of these healthy habits today. You’ll feel stronger, your energy will be high, and you’ll look and feel youthful longer.
What are you doing to stay healthy that can help the rest of us do it too? Please leave a comment below.