There are many lifestyle choices we can make to move healthy and strong into our second half of life.
I believe a healthy lifestyle is like a 4-legged stool. The top of the stool represents a healthy balanced life and the four legs that support it are exercise, healthy eating, good quality sleep and managed stress. With that in mind, here is my powerful prescription for healthy aging!
- Be active.
Did you know that by creating the healthy habit of being active, you can avoid and/or manage a multitude of problems as you age? Everything from joint pain, depression, type 2 diabetes and heart disease improves when you make a commitment to move! Remember, being active does not always mean going to the gym. It can be dancing, yard work, walking in your neighborhood. Just move more – I promise you will feel the difference!
- Be fueled.
Since ‘extra padding’ seems to appear as we age, we may find ourselves trying to restrict food to avoid that ‘spare tire’ around our middle. This behavior can back fire as your metabolism needs fuel to operate properly. When you quit eating regular meals and snacks every 3 hours throughout the day you may actually notice a weight gain rather than loss. The secret to healthy eating for seniors:make sure you eat protein every three hours. Try it – it will change your life!
- Be mindful of getting good night’s sleep.
For some, sleep is easy and you can’t imagine why it would be a problem; however, for the majority of seniors, falling asleep and staying asleep is a nightly dilemma. Two major changes to implement starting today – limit fluid intake after 6:00 pm and no TV or technology for 1 hour before bedtime.
- Set boundaries to manage stress.
We all have stress in our lives so it is not about eliminating stress but rather learning how to manage the stress we have. If you are feeling overcome with stress, practice setting healthy boundaries by saying ‘no’ more often. Find ways (like yoga, exercise, quiet time) to help ease the stress you cannot avoid.
- Be generous. One of the greatest opportunities we have as seniors is to share our knowledge, resources and experiences with others. This is our season of life to give back to our community! Make sure that part of your day is spent making a difference in the lives of those around you.
As you begin to practice a healthier lifestyle, you will be surprised at the beautiful second half of life you can create!