TAKE 5

5 Tips on Developing Better Habits in your Senior Years

By Jessica Walter, Contributing Writer
Posted

Did you know that more physical activity over the age of 65 can improve mood, lower the risk of injury and prevent chronic illnesses? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, many medical conditions improve with some exercise later in life. This is just one change that you may be thinking of making after retirement, but there are many others you can make which will have a positive effect on your life. Take a look at our tips below to successfully develop better habits as a senior.

1. Don’t Just Eat - Cook
Developing eating habits as a senior doesn’t have to be a chore. Avoid scouring packets for ingredients and counting calories by making your own meals and substituting ingredients to suit your tastes. Why not try adding some superfoods to your diet to improve your health? According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, foods such as broccoli and walnuts are thought to help prevent breast cancer as part of a balanced diet.

2. Don’t Walk - Run
There is no reason that getting older should prevent you from getting fitter; your health will benefit from exercise no matter what age you are. There are lots of gym and swimming sessions targeted at seniors, and studies show that exercise after the age of 50 improves strength, mobility and enhances sleep. Your new regime will also prevent post-menopausal weight gain so exercising will ensure hormonal changes don’t impact on your health.  
 
3. Replace the Old with the New
If you are a smoker or have a habit of eating lots of takeaway meals, replace these habits with new ones. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine or a cigarette, reach for something healthy to eat or go for a long walk. The substitutions will become habits themselves and will feel more natural the longer you do them.

4. Plan for the Future
Plan your approach to allow for relapses or obstacles to your goal. What will you do if there are no senior gym sessions in your area? How will you cope while under stress? It is easier to go back to old habits than form new ones, so being prepared will help you succeed.

5. One Habit at a Time
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once. Research shows it takes around a month to form a habit, so start with one change and continue until it feels natural.

Research conducted by University College London has shown that a positive outlook in your 50s can significantly extend your lifespan. Think of your new habits as a positive step toward building a happier, longer future. ■

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This month's issue

Heather Terry community relations director for Senior Services North Fulton, helps organize meals for delivery to clients as part of the agency's outreach programs. Also pictured on the cover is Zulma Caldeiro. Read more page 24.

 

 

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