3 Habits Seniors Can Start in the New Year for Improved Health and Happiness
Whatever your age may be, you’re never too old to set goals for yourself and form new habits, especially those that could extend your life and boost your health and happiness. New Year’s resolutions foster a sense of purpose in older adults, and some studies show that having a sense of purpose could reduce a senior’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or becoming depressed or anxious as they age. So kick off the new year by incorporating a few healthy habits into your daily routine.
1. Eat the Rainbow
Many of us fall into the routine of eating and drinking the same foods and beverages each week, which could put us at risk of developing one or more nutritional deficiencies as we grow older. However, eating the rainbow and consuming a variety of different nutrients can help to slow the aging process, reduce our risk of age-related diseases, and enhance our immune systems. Some foods — specifically vegetables like brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach and probiotic-rich foods like kimchi, tofu, and yogurt — can even help to fight depression and anxiety.
To add some variety to your diet, try these simple strategies in the new year:
- Join a produce delivery service to have fresh fruits and veggies delivered right to your door.
- Keep frozen fruits and veggies on hand.
- Prepare a nutrient-packed smoothie every morning.
- Shop at local farmers’ markets or health food stores.
- Snack on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds throughout the day.
2. Make Home Modifications
Senior falls are all too common, affecting millions of older adults each year. Many dangerous falls, however, can be prevented with a few home modifications — like removing rugs and other tripping hazards, improving the lighting in dimly lit areas and installing grab bars or railings near bathtubs, toilets, showers, and stairs. So let this be the year you modify your home for aging in place, and you’ll live happily, healthily, and independently in your house for many years to come.
In addition to reducing tripping hazards and making other age-friendly home modifications, the new year is the perfect time to clean and declutter — especially if you’ve been feeling anxious, irritable, or overly critical of yourself and others. You’re spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic, and it’s important to look out for signs that negative energy may be present in your house.
To rid your living space of negativity, try opening up the windows and letting in fresh air, cleaning with freshly squeezed lemon and white vinegar, and donating unwanted or unneeded items to charity. Some of the best places to donate unwanted items include local soup kitchens, women’s shelters, and charities such as the Salvation Army and Vietnam Veterans of America.
3. Exercise the Mind and Body
The secret to keeping our minds and bodies happy and healthy as we age is to challenge ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Brain games, for instance, ward off depression, cognitive decline, and boredom, while physical activities like yoga, pilates, swimming, and walking improve mobility, flexibility, and balance. Plus, cardiovascular activities reduce our risk of heart disease, strengthen our bones, and improve the capacity of our lungs.
To exercise the mind and body in the new year, tease your brain with crosswords and puzzles and incorporate walks, yoga, bike rides, and aerobics classes into your day. You can find hundreds of online workouts on YouTube fitness channels like FitnessBlender and BeFit, or you could join your local senior center to take advantage of online and in-person health and fitness programs.
You’re never too old to build new habits and take steps to lead a more fulfilling life, and these three resolutions for the new year will only help you to feel happier and healthier with age. By incorporating these healthy habits into your life, you’ll have more energy, positivity, and freedom to make the very most of your Golden Years!