With the start of the New Year, everyone’s minds naturally shift to thoughts of how they can make improvements to their life with this fresh start. One of the most common themes is adopting healthier habits like adding in more exercise and swapping out junk food for fruits and vegetables. While these good habits are a smart choice for people of all ages, there are some additional healthy habits that are particularly beneficial to our aging adult population. Learn what they are and how they might help you or a loved one improve the quality of your life in 2019!
- Exercise your brain.
Staying healthy as you age goes far beyond your physical health, mental health is just as important! For this reason, you want to be sure you incorporate mental exercise into your daily routine. What’s mental exercise? It’s more obvious than you might think, and maybe you’re already doing it! Things like puzzles, word searches, IQ challenges and more all help to exercise your brain, keeping you more alert even as you age. Best of all this is low-cost or no-cost. Look for a puzzle book the next time you’re at the dollar store or search for any of the various free apps that may be available on your phone right now.
- Never miss a check-up.
Life is busy, schedules fill up and then all of a sudden we realize we haven’t kept up with our regular doctor check-ups. When you’re feeling good, it’s easy to push these things off. But if you go too long without a regular check-up from your doctor, bigger issues could arise that could really have a negative impact on your life. It’s so important to stay ahead of any health issues that may be building up, especially as you age. Make it a point this year, and all years moving forward, to never miss a check-up.
- Create a healthy routine.
If you’re like most people out there, healthy habits come easier when you develop them into a routine. Look at your daily routine right now. What are some areas that could be improved upon by swapping out unhealthy habits for healthier ones. For example, if you find you never have enough time for a balanced breakfast in the morning, consider prepping your food overnight so it’s a seamless part of your day. Or if you have trouble sleeping and spend too much time late at night on your phone, you can set a timer on your phone to turn off by a certain hour so that this isn’t a temptation. These simple swaps in your daily routine today will lead to long-term benefits in your health.
- Stay educated.
Staying educated goes beyond the “mental exercise” we talked about in the earlier point. This also helps you to stay apprised of the latest health trends and findings that might allow you to improve your health. When it comes to personal health, you must be your own advocate. Reading the latest news articles on health-related topics will keep you educated on these issues and allow you to have a productive conversation with your medical provider.
- Try new things.
At first you might wonder how trying new things will enhance your health as you age. The connection is that when you try new things you require your brain to work in a new way. This also requires focus and concentration, two other important things you want to preserve as you age. Finally, trying new things is fun and fulfilling! In addition to enhancing your physical and mental health, it will add to your quality of life!
- Revisit old memories.
Revisiting old memories is one of the best ways to stay mentally sharp, especially as you age. There are many different ways you can do this, too. You can organize old photos into a scrap book. You can keep a journal and write down the stories and milestones you remember from each stage of life. You can also invite friends and family into the activity by asking them to share their photos and stories with you too.
- Invest in relationships.
The correlation between strong relationships and happiness is undeniable. Especially as you grow older, you want to invest in your relationships with friends and family. It’s never too late! More than any material possession, it’s relationships that you’ll remember and appreciate the most. Make this the year that you reconnect with old friends, set a monthly lunch date with a distant loved one or host a family gathering to bring everyone together again. This is one New Year’s resolution that is fun to keep – and one you will never regret.
- Listen to your body.
Finally and most importantly, make this the year that you tune into your body. Listen to what it’s telling you day-to-day. At the peak of busyness in our lives, we can sometimes forget how to calm down and find rest, especially as we age. If today your body says it needs rest, allow it to have rest. Tomorrow you may find you have more energy and want to tackle an activity or hobby. Also, if your body shows a new sign or symptom, don’t ignore it. Monitor how you feel in a daily journal and look for new trends that could alert you of a concern. Then, make sure you speak with someone about it soon!
Here’s to making 2019 your healthiest – and happiest year yet!