Get Enough SleepSleep is essential for healthy functioning. Because of the restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, as well as the cognitive, emotional, and other benefits, sleep should be a high priority. Unfortunately, many seniors struggle with falling and staying asleep. For those having trouble sleeping at night, the following nighttime habits for sleep can help promote healthy seniors’ sleep habits.
Exercise RegularlyResearch shows that seniors who exercise frequently are more likely to be in good health, maintain good health over time, and recover more quickly when necessary. If that’s not reason enough to maintain a regular exercise schedule, exercise has also been shown to bring higher levels of energy and help with stress relief, and weight bearing exercise can help women avoid osteoporosis by increasing bone density in many cases. See this article for more on the stress management benefits of exercise, and learn more about recommended exercises for healthy seniors.
Maintain a Healthy DietWe’ve always known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat can be healthy. However, it seems that the benefits of a healthy diet are making the news more and more often these days -- and for good reason: A healthy diet is associated with increased levels of well-being, health and even longer life. Consuming an optimum mix of good food is a must for healthy seniors. Learn more about nutrition from About.com’s Nutrition Site.
Stay ConnectedYou probably already know that having a supportive social circle is good for your emotional health, but did you know that friendships are also associated with physical health? Research also shows that seniors who felt connected to a community were more likely to enjoy good health, stay healthy over time, and recover more quickly. Take the Social Stress Quiz to assess whether your social life is an asset or a liability.
Regular Doctor VisitsThis stage of life tends to bring with it changes in your body and overall health, so it’s important to have a doctor that you trust and can work with comfortably. It’s also vitally important to be proactive with health by getting the recommended health screenings within the recommended time frame. This ensures that, if you’re at risk of developing health problems, you may be able to make necessary lifestyle changes to stay healthy. It also ensures that, if there is a problem, it’s treated in a timely manner. Even more important, certain screening tests can actually help prevent later health problems from developing altogether. For example, in some instances a colonoscopy can ensure the removal of polyps that, if untreated, could develop into colon cancer. Realizing that you are in charge of your own health can be empowering, and partnering with a doctor whom you can really trust should bring peace of mind, and help you avoid excessive health-related stress. (If you don't have a comfortable relationship with your doctor and would like to 'shop around,' free resources are available at UCompareHealthCare.)
Effectively Manage StressThe effects of stress can have a major impact on your health and wellbeing, so effective stress management is an important part of a healthy senior’s lifestyle. While there are specific retirement stressors that seniors face, as well as ways to relieve retirement stress, there are also specific stress management techniques that are particularly suited for seniors in general. From cognitive puzzles to breathing exercises, check out these stress management techniques for senior health.
Shields M, Martel L. Healthy living among seniors. Health Reports 2006.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Screening. CDC, April 2, 2006.
Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis, and Therapy. NIH Consensus Statement. March 2000.