Many of us make New Year’s resolutions with the goal to improve our lives, like exercising more or eating healthier. These types of goals can really be helpful in preventing illness and injury—especially for older adults.
To increase your chances of success, set small, attainable goals throughout the year. That way, you can fulfill one of your New Year’s resolutions while improving your health and happiness in 2016. Here are a few New Year’s resolutions that older adults should consider adopting in 2016 to stay healthy, fit and happy:
Start a New Exercise Regimen
For older adults, exercising is essential to staying fit and healthy. This year, make a commitment and plan out a new workout regimen that fits your needs. For example, there are many exercises available for seniors with arthritis that can help relieve pain and strengthen joints. Most seniors who live in retirement communities have easy access to workout rooms and can sign up for various exercise classes. To keep yourself motivated and on-track, find a workout buddy to exercise with.
Eating healthy is as important as exercising. What you put in your body fuels your day and helps to keep your mind sharp. Avoid processed foods and make a promise to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. According to The American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation, it’s recommended to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Include nuts, beans and/or legumes in your diet, as well as:
- Fiber-rich whole grains
- Heart-healthy fish
- Low-fat meats like chicken and turkey
Improve Your Balance
Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries among older adults. This year, empower yourself to improve your balance and help prevent falling. Exercises that strengthen your muscles are a good first step. You can also consider pursuing a fall risk assessment to educate yourself on fall prevention in and outside of your home.
Boost Your Brain
Mental health is an important aspect of healthy living. The more you use your mind, the more the brain is stimulated, which improves memory and brain function and reduces the risk of cognitive diseases. There are several “brain-boosting” activities to challenge and exercise your brain like:
- Word games
- Learning to play a musical instrument
- Learning a second language
Socializing also gives the brain a boost, so consider joining a book club or discussion group. Doing so will also let you meet new people and make new friends.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The foundation to good health is getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. Achieving your other goals can become difficult if your body is tired. According to the National Sleep Foundation, older adults 65 years and above should get 7-8 hours of sleep. If you have restless nights and feel tired during the day, visit the National Sleep Foundation for tips on how to sleep better.