We can all benefit from healthy aging advice. From improving our diet and levels of physical activity to getting health screenings and regular checkups, making healthy choices pays dividends in how we feel. In our later decades, focusing across areas of social, mental and physical wellbeing nurtures graceful aging and improves life quality.
Exercise and physical activity during COVID-19
Be safe during COVID-19. Some of these activities may not be possible under current restrictions or advisable under CDC guidelines. Reach out to your local senior center or gym to see if they offer online exercise classes or exercise videos. To adhere to CDC safety guidelines, it is recommended that people do virtual activities like a group video call with friends or family. Also, if you are around others, get the COVID-19 vaccine, maintain at least six feet of distance, and wear a mask. National Institute on Aging
Engaging in physical activities like golf, tennis, swimming and shuffleboard help improve circulation and keep you limber. Participation also helps to burn calories and provide much-needed social interaction, a sense of belonging and personal satisfaction. Interacting with grandchildren or young neighbors is another mechanism yielding similar positive results.
Eating wisely involves making nutritious choices most, if not all, of the time. Skip fried foods and opt for their grilled or broiled lower-calorie counterparts. Pair your protein entrée with a garden salad with minimal dressing on the side or a baked potato minus the high-fat butter, sour cream and cheese. Accompany your meal with water or an unsweetened beverage.
Is there a “normal” weight range or pattern for healthy aging? For older adults, one size does not fit all. Although we have learned a lot about patterns of weight and aging, watching your weight as you age is very much an individual matter, according to the National Institute on Aging. Talk with your doctor about any weight concerns, including decisions to lose weight or any unexplained weight changes.
Aging, retirement and now COVID-19 infections have circumscribed our social interaction with friends, neighbors and family and curtailed our presence and participation at concerts, religious services, events and daily activities. While zooming these activities isn’t the same as meeting in-person, it’s an easy and practical way to stay in touch, meet new people, learn new things and most importantly, avoid depression. Check your local community college or recreation center for courses via zoom.
Sharpen your mental skills. If you’re not computer literate, take a class. Studies show that people who use their brain productively suffer less depression and live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives. The digital world offers crossword puzzles, games like Wordle and other games of skill and language instruction. For physical development, online yoga and other movement-based activities foster feelings of well-being and burn calories.
Make sure you keep regular doctor visits; many providers offer telehealth options for certain types of visits. Ask your provider about dietary supplements – vitamins, minerals, herbs, powder drinks and energy bars – and whether they’re right for you, as some are regulated by the Food and Drug administration (FDA) and some may not.
Aging well means living well.
For more information:
Search the National Institute on Aging’s A-Z Health Topics.
Read practical tips from the National Council on Aging.