As one year comes to a close, many of us choose to make resolutions that we will try to carry on through the next year. If you are a senior who is interested in making a resolution or two for 2017, consider some of the following suggestions:
1. Eat Healthy
Decide to add more fruits, vegetables, good oils, and whole grains into your diet. Drink enough water. Studies have shown that, when a person makes lifestyle changes after having a heart attack, they are less at risk of ever suffering another heart attack. Work on having a healthy diet now so you can avoid certain health problems that come from having poor eating habits.
2. Take a Multivitamin
Talk to your doctor about your body’s specific needs. If a daily multivitamin is right for you, your doctor can point you in the direction of the best vitamin for you.
3. Be Active
If you don’t already have an exercise routine, start exercising regularly. Having a daily exercise routine can help you avoid falls and certain injuries. Exercise increases your serotonin levels, which helps to improve your mood and stabilize your emotions. One recent study suggests that seniors who exercise regularly could extend their lifespan by up to a decade.
4. Visit Your Doctor Annually
Schedule and keep your yearly doctor’s appointments. Which doctors you visit throughout the year depends on what health concerns you currently have. If you are concerned about finding the right doctor, you can consult this checklist for what seniors should look for in a health care provider.
5. Drink Less Alcohol
It’s true that alcohol has benefits, but you should always drink it in moderation. Anyone who has health issues such as heart problems or diabetes should avoid alcohol altogether. Instead of having a glass of wine or a beer with your dinner, try drinking a glass of water, 100 percent juice, or milk
6. Protect Yourself from Falls
With your daily exercise routine, make sure that you dedicate two or three workouts a week to strength training. Doing exercises that incorporate light hand weights or resistance bands can help you keep your muscles strong, which will help you keep your bones healthy and your body healthy. There are also several other simple exercise moves you can do that will help you strength train.
7. Work Your Brain
One study found that reading, writing, and playing games could slow the onset of dementia. In this study, scientists found that the participants who read and wrote regularly had a much slower rate of mental decline than patients who were not avid readers or writers. Playing games on sites like Lumosity is also a fun way to keep your brain sharp.
8. Stop Smoking
If you’re already a non-smoker, fantastic! If you currently smoke, it’s never too late to quit. Talk to your doctor about what options are best for you to help you kick the habit. Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking has been linked to strokes, blindness, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
9. Talk to Others
Staying social can help keep you from feelings of isolation and depression. One study found that having several healthy social relationships was just as beneficial to a senior’s health as quitting smoking. That same study found that people who have strong social relationships have a 50 percent higher chance of living longer than people who have poor social relationships. Seniors who live in assisted living communities have the benefit of the social atmosphere that surrounds them in the community. There are many social opportunities in assisted living communities, such as group meals, events, and gathering places.
10. Get Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors need about eight hours of sleep a night. Not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for several different diseases, like depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. If you can’t sleep enough during the night, take naps during the day. Your body needs rest to recharge itself.