This year, 2020, was a year like no other. Seniors unexpectedly found themselves battling fears about the COVID-19 pandemic and were forced to distance from friends and family.
While the new year is an unknown, it’s a good idea to focus on your hopes and dreams for the months ahead. We have some suggestions to help you adopt a healthy lifestyle so you can feel your best in 2021.
Making the Most of a New Year
- Laugh more: One thing the tumultuous days of 2020 taught us is how quickly life can change. Make your first resolution to laugh more in 2021. Not only does laughter boost the spirit, it’s also good for your health. It’s linked to lower blood pressure and fewer incidences of depression. Buy a joke-of-the-day book and read one each morning. Stream a comedy, like Grace and Frankie or Home Alone, on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
- Eat well: Retirees might find cooking for one or two to be too much work. It can lead to an unhealthy diet of convenience and fast foods. These options are usually low in nutrition and high in sodium, carbs, and calories. You might set a goal to batch cook healthy entrees a few times a month and freeze them. If that isn’t appealing, consider signing up for a meal delivery service. Silver Cuisine, HelloFresh, and Purple Carrot are a few to try.
- Exercise: Another resolution to include on your list for 2021 is to exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. If you are sticking close to home because of COVID-19, you’ll still find many options for exercising at your own home. Taking a short, daily walk in your neighborhood, practicing chair yoga, or working out with inexpensive resistance bands are a few types of exercise to discuss with your primary care physician.
- Sit less: Research now shows that a sedentary lifestyle can be just as dangerous to your health as smoking! The imposed quarantine during 2020 might have caused some bad habits to develop. If you are guilty of this, resolve to change in 2021. Think about ways you can move more and sit less. For example, when you are talking on the phone or enjoying FaceTime with the grandkids, stand up instead of sitting. It might be useful to invest in a health tracker, like a Fitbit or a Garmin Vivofit, that alerts if you’ve been sitting too long.
- Beat stress: There’s no denying 2020 was stressful on a variety of fronts. Learning how to manage stress productively is essential at every age. If you don’t already meditate, consider taking it up. It’s a great practice for calming the body, mind, and spirit. Some people find it helps to keep a gratitude journal, focusing on all of the good things that happened during the day.
- See the doctor: Do you put off seeing your primary care physician until you are really sick? Make 2021 the year you take a more proactive approach to your health care. Start by scheduling a physical exam as soon as your physician can fit you in. This will allow the doctor to evaluate your health and schedule routine screenings. Medicare covers an annual wellness visit, so you won’t incur any out-of-pocket expenses unless your physician orders additional testing.
We hope these ideas make it easier to set goals that allow you to start the new year on a healthy note. If you are looking for physical fitness ideas to try in 2021, you’ll find more suggestions in 5 Tips for Seniors to Stay Healthy and Fit at Home. They’ll be especially useful if you are trying to stay safe and stick close to home.