As boomers and seniors get older, staying healthy will become more important. Healthy lifestyles will help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and people who live healthy will be able to take care of themselves longer and live happier. The International Council on Active Aging has a list of tips for older adults, 10 guidelines for living healthier and happier:
- Invest in a good pair of shoes and socks. Happy feet mean a happy body. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, sore feet are not a natural part of the aging process, so aches and pains should result in a trip to a podiatrist.
- Play games. Whether it’s trivia, Sudoku, crosswords, board games or memory exercises, games keep the brain healthy and active. Plus, playing games with others keeps a person social, which is important, too.
- Take a walk or stroll. Walking improves lower body strength, maintains mobility and helps prevent cognitive decline.
- Stand on one leg. Good balance helps with many activities and keeps people from falling. Tai chi is a good program of exercise to improve balance and reduce falls.
- Visit an eye doctor. Regular visits to the optometrist can keep some vision loss at bay, especially if corrective lenses are kept up to date.
- Increase physical activity. Housework and gardening count, as do walks to the store or playing with a grandchild. Joining a gym or attending fitness classes makes it easier to get the physical activity one needs.
- Seek out friends, family and neighbors. ICAA says studies have shown that friendships and the social support network developed at seniors centers, places of worship and neighborhoods not only prevent loneliness, but also provide a ready source of intellectual, physical and volunteer activities. Plus, people with a strong social network lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project.
- Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Find out how to add fruits and vegetables to your diet by visiting “5 A Day” at www.5aday.gov.
- Laugh a lot. The simple act of laughing increases circulation, immune system defenses and mental functioning while decreasing stress hormones.
- Get enough sleep. That seven or eight hours adults need still applies as we age. Insomnia affects almost half of adults 60 years and older, according to the National Institute on Aging, making it the most common sleep complaint.
For more information, visit www.icaa.cc.