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Stay Senior Healthy

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By Bill Koch

Editor

Staying healthy in your golden years can be challenging. Those old bones and tired muscles sometimes just don’t seem to want to work the way they used to decades ago.

But keeping strong and fit is even more important in your later years, especially as those senior “afflictions” seem to come visiting more frequently.

Seniors are more susceptible to a number of ailments and challenges, including the flu, weight gain, fragile bones, cancer and depression.

While we can’t stave off the inevitable, adopting an active, healthy lifestyle can definitely put more life into your style.

Here are some tips to get you motivated:

Stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes is one of the leading killers of a healthy lifestyle. It can cause cancer, strokes and heart problems. Cigarettes can cause atherosclerosis, which leads to sexual problems, and excessive wrinkling.

Get moving. Adopt a manageable exercise program that helps you build strength, balance, flexibility and heart health. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, sleep better and reduce stress.

Eat healthy. Go nutritious. Do portion control. Think in color: Green, blue, yellow, red. Those are the foods that will help keep you strong. Poor diets can lead to heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Keep trim. Those extra pounds increase risk of heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure. Shoot for a healthy weight for your height and gender. Drink lots of water; it has no calories and keeps you hydrated.

Watch your step. Falls can put you out of commission for a long time. Look for potential hazards to help prevent falls, such as loose carpets, electrical cords and other items. Install nightlights for the nighttime.

Get regular checkups. Monitor your medical screenings. Women should make sure they’re scheduling regular mammography appointments and men are getting prostate checks.

Watch your skin. People’s skin thins and gets drier as they age, which leads to more wrinkles and longer time for wound healing. Wear covering outside and skin protection lotions.

Get your teeth, vision and hearing checked. Regular brushing and dental care may help you maintain teeth and gums for a lifetime. Older people may need to help with small print. Hearing help may also be necessary.

Cool it. Stress can lead to health problems. Exercise and relaxation techniques can take the pressure off everyday living. Connect with friends and maintain a positive attitude.

 

Here are some exercise ideas for seniors:

  1. Swimming may be the best exercise. Water aerobics classes, for example, provide the benefits of movement without the potential of impact injuries.
  2. Yoga provides a variety of benefits, including building muscle strength and a stronger heart. It also helps stabilize your core and create better total-body mobility.
  3. Pilates – a low-impact, strength-building program – helps build and strengthen your core and is especially helpful for older people.
  4. Body-weight training is an excellent way to offset the muscle loss many people experience as they age. It’s also a good and safer alternative to weight lifting.
  5. Resistance band workouts are handy and inexpensive ways to build muscles. Many gyms have resistance bands and provide instruction.
  6. Walking is probably the single best, easiest, most convenient and most affordable way to exercise. All it requires is a pair of sturdy shoes and a commitment to go somewhere. Some experts recommend doing 10,000 steps per day, which produce fantastic results. However, any amount of walking is great.