Making New Year’s resolutions are as traditional as decking the halls or giving gifts at the holidays. As we approach 2019, you’re probably already thinking of ways to improve yourself in the coming year. Many of us make resolutions to exercise more, eat better or generally improve our lives – all of which can be incredibly helpful in preventing injury and illness, especially for seniors.
“The New Year is a great chance for seniors to start some habits that will help them age in a healthy way,” says Doris Lea, Executive Director of Hidden Springs of McKinney, an active senior life community opening in McKinney, TX in October 2019. “For older adults who are reaching retirement age and are looking for a place to spend their senior years, choosing an ideal retirement location can greatly help meet those health and wellness goals. At Hidden Springs of McKinney, our goal is to help our residents remain active, healthy and vibrant throughout their retirement, which is why we place such a focus on promoting health and wellness at any age and any stage. ”
If health and wellness is a goal for you in 2019, Lea says that choosing little, easily-attainable goals are better than trying to do too much at once. “By focusing on smaller things that you may already be doing in some part, you’ll be more likely to stick to them because you’ll start seeing success quickly.”
Here are five New Year’s resolutions that seniors can consider adopting in 2019 to help promote healthy aging:
1. Find a Fun New Exercise Routine
No shocker here – regular exercise is one of the most common and easy ways to stay fit and healthy as we age. You probably already do some form of exercise, whether it’s swimming, playing tennis or simply taking a stroll every evening. This year, shake things up and put together a new exercise routine that helps address and improve your needs. It’s also a great time to try something new that you’ve been considering for a while, like Yoga, tai chi or spin. Older adults should focus on a combination of aerobic activity (to get blood pumping and burn calories), as well as strength building (to improve posture, balance and strength). Here are a few suggestions of easy and beneficial exercises for seniors:
- For helping with arthritis pain: Water aerobics, weight lifting, stretching, Yoga
- For cardiovascular problems: Walking, jogging, biking
- For balance: Walking, Yoga, Pilates
2. Improve Your Diet
Pair healthy eating with exercising and you have an excellent foundation for healthy aging. What you put into your body fuels you and keeps everything functioning as highly as possible. Experts recommend a good mix of fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, lean meats like fish and chicken and healthy fats like olive oil and nuts. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid things like processed food, sodium, sugar and bad fats. Yes, we know – we’re not telling you anything you aren’t already aware of. Here are some less-expected and more fun ways to improve your diet:
- Have a glass of wine. Research suggests that people who have an adult beverage each day live longer than people who don’t drink (or who drink more than a glass a day). It’s not just wine, either – any sort of alcohol in moderation is linked to a lower mortality rate. Bottoms up!
- Eat chocolate. Dark chocolate is full of some pretty sweet stuff like antioxidants, but chocolate of any kind has been linked to longevity as well, reducing risk of events like stroke and heart attack.
- Drink coffee. If you just can’t start the day without your cup of joe, here’s some good news: a 2014 study found that consuming 3 cups of coffee a day was linked with a 21% lower death rate from cardiovascular disease.
3. Spend Time with Others
Friends improve our lives in so many ways – and can help us live longer. Humans are social creatures, so it should come as no surprise that spending time with others can affect the way we age. According to psychologist and author Howard Friedman, a consistent behavior among long-lived individuals is the degree to which they remain socially connected to friends and family. Here are some ways to stay more socially connected in 2019:
- Volunteer. Helping others makes us feel good about ourselves, and it also can improve our health. Find a cause you believe in and spend some time in this upcoming year dedicating your efforts.
- Start a new hobby. Whether that’s joining a knitting circle, taking a woodworking class or creating a book club, spending time with like-minded people will be enjoyable and therapeutic.
- Reach out to old friends. Technology has made connecting so much easier. Facebook and even text messaging can help you reach out to old friends across the miles and rekindle old friendships.
4. Boost Your Brain
Staying mentally active is an important part of healthy aging. Your brain is a bit like a muscle – the more it’s used, the better it functions. Dedicate yourself to doing more brain-boosting activities in the coming year to improve your memory, increase brain function and reduce the risk of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some fun and easy ways to get those little gray cells jumping:
- Puzzles like Sudoku and logic games
- Word games like Words With Friends, Scrabble and crossword puzzles
- Learning a new skill like playing an instrument or speaking a different language
- Socializing through a discussion group or book club
5. Be Good to Yourself
Turn your New Year’s resolution inwards to improve your emotional and mental health this year. By focusing on your inner self, you’ll improve your physical health, become a more positive person and have a higher quality of life. Here are some easy suggestions to work goodness into your daily life:
- Get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, seniors should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This helps keep the brain sharp and your body healthy.
- Be mindful. By focusing on the “now” and allowing yourself to just be, you can instantly reduce tension, lower your risk of depression and help you maintain a healthy weight (really!). Spend a little time each day in meditation – even as little as five minutes can have big benefits.
- Practice gratitude. By being thankful for what you have in your life, you can improve your immune system, reduce stress and make you a happier person overall. Whether you choose to keep a gratitude journal or simply count your blessings each day, your mind, body and soul will benefit greatly.
We invite you to visit Hidden Springs of McKinney and discover the secret to a life well lived. For more information about our innovative, active senior life community or our beautiful location in McKinney, TX, please contact 972.445.9844.
Active Retirement Living for a Healthy Tomorrow
The secret to a life well-lived awaits you at Hidden Springs of McKinney. Envisioned and developed by Madison Marquette, a company with a 25-year track record of investing in vibrant communities and a stellar reputation for developing luxury residences, you’ll discover all the possibilities your retirement brings … as well as the confidence of knowing your future is secure.
Our beautifully appointed, active retirement living community is created for those who expect more out of life. Luxury living, gracious services, resort-quality amenities, engaging programs and stunning apartments in 12 floor plans are just a few of the benefits awaiting you. And with assisted living and memory care services offered on campus, you can retire with complete peace of mind, knowing that if needs change, the care you deserve is right at home.