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It is no secret that the American population is getting older. By 2040, it has been estimated that there will be 14.1 million people over the age of 85 according to the American Senior Communities. As more people move to senior housing communities, there has been an uptick in interest in how to stay active and healthy as people age. Here are some things you can do to feel better for longer:
- Get more whole foods into your diet. Whether you are living in one of the senior living communities around the nation or not, eating a healthier diet is something everyone can benefit from. As you age, it helps to add more fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy, and whole grains into your diet. Take away sugar, salt, processed meats and other foods, butter, beef, pork, and packaged foods. Making these dietary changes can lower your chances of developing cancer, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Eating a better diet has been linked to living a longer and healthier life.
- Get more fiber. Along with eating a generally more healthy diet that is loaded with fresh produce and whole grains, making sure your diet includes a lot of fiber (which can be from the produce or whole grain) can do a number of good things for you. It helps keep you regular. It can also lower your chances of developing colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Fiber can also help you feel full sooner so you eat less and can help you regulate your weight.
- Get out and go for a walk. If you are living in senior housing, there may be walking groups that you can join. Whether you go with a group or alone, getting at least 30 minutes of walking in each day can do a lot to keep you healthy. This 30 minutes does not have to be in one lump sum but can be broken down into smaller walking segments. It is important to keep a pace that does not leave you out of breath but goes get your heart rate up. Studies show this is another good way to stave off Alzheimer’s disease or improve any symptoms associated with it.
- Spend more time with your friend and family. Humans are social creatures and one important thing we can do at all ages is to connect with the people who are important in our lives. This can take on a bigger importance as we age. The more connected you are to your friends and family, the less likely you are to suffer from depression. By staying connected to the important people in your life, you can also stave off dementia. People who spend more time alone are known to have more of the stress hormone in their bodies. That can lead to more inflammation (swelling) that causes diabetes and arthritis.
- Quit smoking. This is one of the best things you can do for your health whether you are in a senior living community or not. Smoking has a negative impact on every organ and part of the human body. Switching to another kind of tobacco product will not help as using any of them can lead to cancer, gum disease, lung disease, and a host of other serious problems with your health. The good news is that the body will start to heal itself after a mere 20 minutes after a person smokes their last cigarette.
- Get enough sleep. Most people understand that as we age, we start to sleep less and less. Insomnia can cause a number of health problems. Whether you live in an independent living facility or another kind of senior housing or someplace else, getting the right amount of sleep can make a big difference in how you feel physically and mentally. Practicing good sleep hygiene can make a big difference.
- Go to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Do not keep a TV or look at another kind of screen in bed.
- Read actual books or magazines.
Moving to a senior housing area does not mean you cannot get the most out of life. These tips can keep you healthy and happy as you age.