Spring is here; and though it may not feel like it every day, we’ll soon be basking in the glow of warmer weather and more sunshine. With the arrival of spring comes all things new – flowers blooming, trees budding, and a fresh new feeling in the air; a perfect time for older adults to start a new habit for health, happiness and an improved quality of life. Why not discover the benefits of one of these healthy habits?
- Take a walk. Walking boasts many health benefits, including weight maintenance, improved muscle tone and strength, and a more positive mood. For older adults, of course, discuss any changes in exercise routine with a physician. After doing so, begin slowly, in small increments on flat ground. Mall walking is an option on rainy days or days with extreme temperatures.
- Getting outside in nature. Even if mobility is limited, getting outside is good for mood and health. Step out and get a bit of fresh air each day, even if you’re lounging on the porch.
- Eat more veggies and fruits. Confused by all the different advice on diet and nutrition? Who isn’t? Most agree, however, that more vegetables and fruits are needed in everyone’s diets, especially older adults. As long as health conditions and medication regimen do not interfere, aim to increase intake of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Do something new. The decline of cognitive ability is a large concern for aging individuals. Taking up a new hobby or activity has been recognized as beneficial for the brain. Whether it’s reading about a new subject, learning to knit, or working on puzzles or word searches – the brain will reap many positive effects.
- Be social. To many aging adults, the world seems like a much more disconnected place. For them technology may be challenging, and they find it difficult to keep up with the world around them. Isolation can lead to or increase depression, which compounds all health issues. It is important to ensure that older adults stay connected with family, friends, and new people. Help them set up video chats (Facetime, Google hangouts, etc.), and set a goal to do one each week, if not daily. Find a group or club where they can be around new people and make new connections.
- Be in the moment. Help them focus on all with a sense of gratitude. Breathe. Be thankful for food, people and the beauty of the world.
While this list of healthy habits is a great idea for people of any age, aging individuals can certainly reap the benefits of making small, positive changes. Choose one and give it a try. We wish you a very happy, healthy spring!