Walking is simply not intense enough to be considered exercise or a “workout” for most healthy individuals.
Walking can be exercise for those first learning to walk or the elderly whom are losing their ability to walk, but for most of the population you need more intensity for it to be considered an exercise routine or workout.
Of course, walking does have some benefits, such as improved blood circulation, increased insulin resistance, and it obviously burns more calories than just sitting around.
Despite what you thought when you were 25 or what you hear from the younger crowd today, your golden years can actually be the most rewarding stage of your life.
It doesn’t just happen that way, however.
As a senior, in order to enjoy a higher quality of life, you need to work for it. Here’s what you should know to make it happen.
Staying Physically Active Is Where to Begin
Although exercise can be uncomfortable for seniors suffering from some ailments or mobility issues, know this: There is always a type of workout that you can do without too much pain and the benefits of exercise are well worth it.
Seniors who exercise spend less time injured or disabled than those who don’t — 25 percent in fact. The benefits of exercise extend far beyond that, however. Seniors can expect improvements to bone health, circulatory function, immune function, and more.
Even doing a few simple stretches can have a host of positive benefits, including reduced tension and calmness within the body and mind. If you need some stretching pointers, there’s a handy infographic that can provide some assistance, or check out the Mathias Method Mobility Guide.
You Can Easily Get Your Workout Indoors
When some seniors think about exercise, they think about scary things like running around the neighborhood, pumping iron at the gym, or barreling down a track on a bike.
You may be concerned about the weather as well. How can you exercise when it’s too hot, too cold, or storming outside? It doesn’t have to be this way.
It doesn’t matter whether you want to spend time with friends at church, call up a workout buddy to accompany you on a walk, or host a weekly card game — as long as you’re socializing with other people with relative frequency, you’re actively improving your overall well-being.
It is thought that “older people who have close connections and relationships not only live longer, but also cope better with health conditions and experience less depression.” It appears that being an active member of a social group stimulates brain activity in a positive manner.
Your Dietary Needs Have Expanded
Eating a well-balanced diet full of fruits and veggies and low in sugar and saturated fat is what keep all humans healthy. When you’re 30, that’s about all it takes. But when you’re 60 and older, that well-balanced diet is necessary, but it’s not enough.
You should work to increase your calcium, vitamin D, B1, and fiber at the very least. Also, remember to stay hydrated. You may have to drink more water than you think you should.
In the end, consult your doctor and listen to what your body is telling you.
Getting Quality Sleep May Be the Key That Unlocks It All
If you don’t give your mind and body the shutdown time it needs to replenish and recharge, then everything else you do — from diet and exercise to socialization — may be all for naught.
Sleep is vital to help you maintain and improve pretty much every aspect of your physical and mental health. For better sleep, try sticking to a strict bedtime and wake-up schedule, avoid eating in the hours before bedtime, try to limit your exposure to “blue light” (smartphone screens, computers, TV), and consider melatonin supplements.
What is the thread tying all of this together? Control. You are ultimately in control of your overall health. Sure, there are some things that are out of your control. But taking a “woe is me” or an “I’m just too old to change things attitude” won’t get you anywhere.
Make some of these smart lifestyle changes or additions and you’ll improve your overall quality of life in no time.
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The key to happiness and good health doesn’t change much with age. Supporting the body and mind through exercise, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and other facets of self-care are vital to our well-being at every point in our lives.
However, it does take a little bit more work to maintain your health in your golden years. If you’re searching for some simple ways to keep yourself feeling young and spry, look no further!
Set Up Your Prevention Plan
The easiest way to treat an illness or injury is to prevent it in the first place. Fortunately for seniors, Medicare includes an Annual Wellness Visit, so doctors can assess changes in your health over the years. During each visit, a doctor will ask you questions about your diet, lifestyle, and general well-being. They will check your blood pressure, monitor your weight, and provide personalized health advice based on any particular risk factors you may have. If you’re at risk of developing anything from depression to diabetes, doctors will send you for the appropriate screenings so they can help you stay on top of potential problems.
Discover Safe and Beneficial Exercises
Maintaining your physical activity is one of the best ways to prevent mental and physical decline in your senior years. Seniors should focus on low-impact exercises, especially if they have joint or muscle pain.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are four main types of exercise, and each has unique benefits:
Aerobic activities improve heart health, cognition, and digestive functioning.
In addition to working out your body, it’s also essential to give your mind a workout on a regular basis. Puzzles, like crosswords and Sudoku, can be helpful. Just be skeptical of online brain-training games claiming to prevent cognitive decline—there is very little evidence that these work.
The greatest mental benefits come from learning new, complex things. Pick up a hobby that requires you to think, like learning a new language, quilting, or digital photography. Researchers have found that these activities can strengthen memory even better than games and puzzles.
Support Your Social Health
Another way to keep your mind sharp and stave off cognitive decline is to stay socially engaged. This can get more difficult as you advance into your senior years, particularly if you live outside of the city or struggle with limited mobility.
Fortunately, seniors can take advantage of technology to stay connected with friends and family who live far away. Forbes recommends picking up a tablet designed for seniors, such as the GrandPad. These tablets are extremely intuitive and require very little setup.
Seniors can also use social media and video chat software to interact with family more frequently. If you’d prefer to get out in the real world, join a class in your town, volunteer, or get a part-time job doing something you like.
Make a Stress-Management Plan
People of any age can experience stress. Whether caused by financial worry, loss of independence, relationships, or health conditions, it’s important to manage stress so you can avoid its various negative effects on the body and mind. Try out some relaxation activities so you know what to do the next time you start feeling stress creep up on you. Deep-breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are excellent ways to quickly relieve stress on the go.
Age shouldn’t get in the way of you and the lifestyle you want. When you’re passionate about wellness and strive for good health every day, you’re bound to thrive in your senior years. Be open to change, get ready to face challenges, and take every opportunity to secure your health for the future.
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Alcohol is an acidic substance that can travel freely through the cells in the body.
As it runs through our blood and into our brain, organ and muscle cells, it breaks down the tissues, causing damage and decreasing function.
In small doses, it does little damage, but over time the negative effects can add up to significant performance loss, especially with excessive amounts.
Alcohol also greatly decreases water reabsorption, causing dehydration, testosterone and your body’s ability to recover from exercise. This puts even more stress on your body and adds to the negative effects of alcohol.
The goal of your diet should be to improve your performance and health, and anything that goes against that goal should not be a part of your diet. That includes alcohol, drugs, and even some foods.
So if you truly want to perform at your best, build muscle and be healthy, you should avoid consuming alcohol and any other harmful substances on a regular basis.
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