An increasing amount of research suggests what many aging professionals have long suspected—a holistic lifestyle may help you live a longer, healthier life. This type of lifestyle combines mental stimulation, physical activity, healthy eating, and meaningful engagement.
Tending to the body, mind, and spirit may allow you to stay mentally, emotionally, and physically fit as you age. People who adopt this integrated approach to wellness experience lower rates of cardiac-related diseases, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
In honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day on May 27th, we are sharing tips for adopting a holistic lifestyle.
Caring for the Body, Mind, and Spirit as You Age
This is one element of successful aging most people are familiar with, even if they don’t always comply with their doctor’s orders. Routine physical fitness activities support heart health and musculoskeletal strength. They also supply the brain with the oxygenated blood it needs to protect cognitive health.
Here are a few low-impact fitness activities to talk with your doctor about:
- Chair yoga
- Light strength training
One program designed to make it easier for older adults is Go4Life®. It was developed by the National Institute on Aging. The program offers various tools, guides, tracking worksheets, and videos to older adults at no cost.
Nutrition plays an essential role in healthy living at every age, but it’s especially important as we grow older. Because our nutritional and caloric needs change, it’s vital to know which foods to eat and how much.
MyPlate for Older Adults is a helpful site for learning more about nutrition and aging. They have resources that range from a tool to guide you when shopping or eating out, as well as a list of salt alternatives.
Just like the body needs a workout on a regular basis, so too does the brain. Researchers say staying mentally active protects your cognitive health. That may help guard against or slow the progression of some forms of dementia.
Brain aerobics challenge the mind to learn new things. Here are a few mentally stimulating activities to consider:
- Mastering a new language
- Learning how to play a musical instrument
- Writing your autobiography or a book of short stories
- Reading current events in the local and national papers each day
- Taking up a new hobby, like watercolor painting or woodworking
Remaining actively involved in the world around you is good for the spirit. Researchers also say it can help you live longer. One reason is because isolation has been identified as a serious health risk for older adults. It contributes to problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, and depression.
Although socializing may seem more difficult now due to COVID-19, there are many ways to stay connected while staying safe. If you or a senior loved one needs to rebuild your social circle, here are a few ways to go about doing so:
- Volunteer: Donate your time and talent to a local nonprofit organization. VolunteerMatch.org or your local United Way agency can help you connect with an opportunity that matches your interests. They are offering many opportunities to volunteer virtually as well.
- Join: Get involved in an organization known for being retiree-friendly. Your local senior center or YMCA are two examples. They offer a variety of social and fitness activities for members. Many of these organizations are offering online versions of their classes and most memberships are reasonably priced.
- Engage: Whether it’s a taking up a new hobby, such as pottery, painting, or drawing, or reconnecting with an old one, find an organization you can engage with around a shared passion even if it is through virtual classes for the time being. You’ll likely find yourself making new friends and enjoying yourself.
Holistic Approach to Senior Living
At Clearwater Living, we take a holistic approach to overall health and wellbeing. It’s at the heart of everything we do. From our Empowered Living® philosophy of encouraging purposeful connections and shared experiences to our Savor dining programs that promote choice, residents get more out of life at a Clearwater community.
The best way to learn more is to schedule a virtual tour. Call the community nearest you to schedule a time!