Spring has sprung, and now it’s the perfect time to fine-tune your focus on living a wellness lifestyle as a senior.
Being outdoors with the sun and greening plants has a healing effect on minds and bodies. Stress is reduced, and blood pressure lowered. As we become more active, we take deeper breathes of healthier air than the air in our homes.
So what are some ways for you as a senior to make the most you wellness in the spring season?
Put Some Step in Your Spring
More and more seniors have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and can therefore begin to resume some of the important things in your life that may have been put off. If you’ve been inactive for months or have a chronic health condition, springtime would be a great time to check in with your physician.
Checking your weight, blood pressure, vision, hearing, and overall health annually are important, as well as receiving screenings and other tests specific to your age and physical condition. Spring wellness for seniors can only be achieved by starting out with an understanding of your body’s capabilities.
And don’t forget to schedule an examination with your dentist.
After getting the OK from your physician, walking is a great exercise, and typically the weather in spring, when it’s not raining, makes taking a walk a very pleasant activity. Start slow if it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a walk. See if you can gradually increase your walking time and speed. Twenty to thirty minutes a day, five days per week is a very good goal.
Also, strength training two or three days a week is recommended. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment. There are exercises that just involve your body weight, or something as simple as elastic bands. Not only will your strength improve, but also your bone density and joint health as well.
Add balance and flexibility exercises to prevent falls and improve the mobility in your movements.
Spring has always marked a new beginning, so why not renew your commitment to a healthy diet?
Emphasize fruits and vegetables. Make your soups light instead of heavy and creamy. Avoid the comfort foods of winter. Reduce your consumption of red meats and processed foods. Think lean poultry. Add in fish with omega-3 fatty acids with a side of leafy green vegetables. Consume more of the healthy fats contained in olive oil and avocados.
With the proper fuel, you can make the most of spring and your senior wellness.
Get Into Outdoor Gardening
Gardening combines exercise and, depending what you grow in your garden, fresh, healthy food.
What are the benefits to you while gardening? Outdoor sunlight boosts your level of Vitamin D, which improves bone health.
Mentally and emotionally, working in a garden reduces stress and provides personal satisfaction. It gives you a sense of purpose and increased confidence that you are managing your life.
In addition, the digging, planting, and hauling is a great physical workout. It builds strength, promotes sleep, and helps in maintaining a healthy weight. Just make sure you don’t overdo it!
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Now that the weather is warmer and you are more active, your need for fluids will increase.
As we age, our sense of thirst diminishes, and our ability to metabolize fluids changes. Staying hydrated affects the function of both mind and body, and promotes digestive health, kidney function, and urinary health.
Be Aware of Allergies
Along with the blessing of bountiful spring wellness opportunities for seniors comes a byproduct of that bounty—pollen.
During the spring, trees and grasses begin releasing pollen into the air, which can trigger allergies. Histamine causes swelling in the nose and eyes, and sneezing is the body’s attempt to remove allergens from the nose.
If you struggle with allergies, check pollen counts, and stay indoors when they are high. Aside from remedies like antihistamines, decongestants, eye drops, and nasal sprays, other defenses against these allergens include:
- Wear a mask while mowing or gardening
- Keep windows closed
- Bathe and wash hair daily to remove pollen
- Change and wash clothes after being outdoors
- Remove shoes before entering the house
- Wear hats and sunglasses when outside to limit pollen entering your eyes and landing in your hair.
- Vacuum your floors once a week
Spring Wellness is Up to Each Senior
There are laws of physics that state a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. It’s all up to you. Determine to get moving and make the changes you need to put yourself in motion mentally and physically. By doing so, you will gain the momentum to carry through the spring and into the seasons beyond. Spring wellness for seniors is important, but more important is creating healthy routines you can keep.
For more tips on staying active and healthy, visit our blog.