Aging is no cakewalk, and it can certainly take a toll on your emotional, mental and physical health. While not being as young as you once were may limit you in some aspects, there is no reason to become a recluse. Staying healthy is as much a mindset as a life choice and there are several steps you can take to remain healthy even after 60.
While some seniors may dread nursing home enrollment, others see nursing homes as an exclusive community of like-minded people. Studies have shown that isolation and loneliness are more damaging to your health than obesity. Your lack of social interaction can give you increased risk of diabetes, arthritis and heart disease.
Moving into an assisted living community can give you the opportunity to become more social and active with other people. You will be able to enjoy meals with others, recreation opportunities and simply see more people on a daily basis. This social interaction can help stave off the ill effects isolation can play on your health.
As you age, your lung function decreases to about a third of what it was when you were in your twenties. Feeling short of breath can become commonplace, but by walking more you can actually improve the amount of oxygen you are consuming. Increasing your oxygen intake can improve your health by sharpening your memory, improving joint function, reducing cancer risks and controlling your blood sugar.
Challenge Yourself Mentally
The human brain is naturally more alert and higher functioning between 10-11am and 8-9pm due to your natural circadian rhythms. Keeping your mind sharp is critical to staying mentally healthy and aware after 60. Consider completing crosswords, solving complex puzzles or doing other mentally stimulating tasks during this space of time each day. Stretching yourself can allow your brain to stay healthy.
Additionally, keeping your brain growing new cells can help you stave off mental illnesses as you age. By creating art, studies have shown that you can decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia and even grow new brain cells. So consider picking up a palette during the day or sketching during lunch, it will help you express yourself while preserving your health!
Enjoy a Cat Nap
If there is anything you know as a senior, it is that aging doesn’t exactly boost your energy levels. You may find yourself tempted to nod off at all hours of the day, but by taking short, strategic naps, you can help boost your energy level for the rest of the day and stay awake. Consider taking a ten-minute catnap at 2pm, and you will wake up refreshed for the evening hours.