Do you feel as healthy and energetic today as you did at age 40? Maybe not. You could start feeling as good as you once did – and even better – by adopting some healthy activities for adults. You may be thinking, at your age, it seems like more trouble than it’s worth to start something new. But the fact is, when it comes to exercise and nutrition for older adults, even small changes can improve your health.
How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle as You Age
Even one small change in your eating habits and activity level can have a huge impact on your daily life. Here’s what you can do to get started!
Physical activity is beneficial for people at any age. For older adults, injury and disability are often a result of falls, which could be prevented by having healthier joints, bones and muscles. Healthy activities for adults, including walking, light jogging, yoga, golf and bike riding, can make your bones and muscles stronger. When they’re strong, you’re less likely to fall, and if you do fall, your bones will be less likely to break.
Regular exercise for older adults is also good for your brain, with studies showing that people who perform simple exercises (i.e., walking briskly) on a regular basis are better able to make decisions and have better memory capability than people who aren’t physically active.
Eating right is important no matter how old you are. As we age, our bodies have different needs, so nutrition for older adults includes some specific nutrients and foods, including:
Not only does eating more fiber-rich foods help you stay regular, it can also help lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. Men 50 and over should get 30 grams of fiber per day and women over 50 should get 21 grams per day. How? Eat whole-grain breads and cereals, beans and peas, and more fruits and vegetables.
The addition of potassium in your diet is not only a nutritional requirement but it’s a benefit when it comes to exercise for older adults. Increasing potassium and reducing sodium not only has the potential of lowering your risk of high blood pressure, but increasing your intake of potassium rich fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt can help you recover after physical activity.
- Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Calcium
One component of how to live a healthy lifestyle is getting enough vitamins as you age. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, older adults need more vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium to help maintain bone health.
- Include three servings of vitamin D-fortified fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt in your diet every day
- Eat more calcium-rich foods like fortified cereals, fruit juices and dark-green leafy vegetables
- Get more B12 by eating lean meat, fish and seafood
- Ask your doctor or a registered nutritionist if you should take a calcium or B12 supplement, or multivitamins with vitamin D
- Low Fat. Nutrition for older adults should be low in saturated fats and trans fat in order to reduce your risk of heart disease. Most of the fats you consume should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Let’s face it. Adopting better nutritional habits and healthy activities for adults can be difficult for anyone at first. Start small and reward yourself for every gain you make. You’ll find that nutrition and exercise for older adults becomes a lot easier as you start noticing how much better you feel. And you will!