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5 health tips for retirees

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Live your most healthy life during retirement

Retired people often struggle to build healthy habits in their new routine, and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 22.6% of adults ages 65 and older are in fair or poor health. To help you be well and enjoy your retired years, here are five health tips and tricks to help you stay healthy.

1.    Get active and learn new exercises

The CDC recommends that adults ages 65 and older get at least 150 minutes, or 30 minutes a day for five days, of moderate exercise each week. Also, for at least two days per week, the exercises should focus on strengthening your muscles and/or helping to improve balance.

Here are a few ways to help get you moving and completing your exercise goals:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Nature walks
  • Tai Chi
  • Lifting light weights

2.    Take care of your mental health

Adults ages 65 and older encounter unique mental health challenges as they adjust to retirement, including missing work routines, feeling socially isolated, and not feeling mentally stimulated. 

If you’re struggling, here are some health tips for retirees that can improve mental health:

  • Attend all necessary health care appointments. 
  • Keep moving your body, getting in all the safe exercise that you can.
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness with a focus on gratefulness.
  • Stay active in your hobbies — and try new ones.
  • Spend time with friends and family as much as you can, even if it’s over video chat.
  • Use a journal to write down your emotions and thoughts about your daily life.
  • Do brain teasers and puzzles.

3.    Prepare healthier recipes 

Eating healthy meals can help keep your mind sharp and your body strong as you age. Many physiological changes can mean reduced calorie needs, decreased food intake, and altered body composition, even in healthy older adults. You may find yourself eating smaller portions more often throughout the day.

To help you start your grocery list, download our list of foods that are best for seniors.

4.    Get restful sleep

Sleep is vital for healing and recharging, and the average adult needs around seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Older adults tend to go to sleep earlier than most, but they often have trouble getting enough restful sleep at night. 

According to the National Institute on Aging, many older adults may not be getting enough sleep due to illness, pain, or certain medications that keep them up at night. Lack of sleep may cause irritability, forgetfulness, feelings of depression, and increased accidents and/or falls during waking hours.

To ensure that you’re getting enough sleep, maximize your nightly routine by:

  • Following a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoiding naps in the early afternoon to late evening.
  • Avoiding large meals and caffeine close to your bedtime.
  • Trying not to watch television or use a computer, tablet, or phone in your bedroom.
  • Keeping your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
  • Using low light in the evening.
  • Exercising at a regular time every day, preferably not close to your bedtime.

5.    Spend time with others

Retirees can often feel isolated due to their environment and lack of daily activities. The National Institute on Aging estimates 1 in 4 people over age 65 experience social isolation in the United States. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health say there’s evidence that social isolation is a substantial risk factor for dementia in older adults.

That is why spending time with friends and family, and engaging in social activities in your community are important. Try these mentally stimulating activities:

  • Sign up for exercises classes at your local gym or recreational center.
  • Organize a regular game night with friends or family.
  • Pick up a part-time job.
  • Adopt a pet that will keep you company and make you active.
  • Visit your local senior center’s activities.
  • Volunteer at local organizations in your area.
  • Enroll in an educational class.
  • Video chat with your friends or family.
  • Try new restaurants.
  • Visit local museums.

Life after retirement is full of change, but incorporating new healthy routines, foods, exercises, and experiences into your day will make this new stage of life that much more fun.

Photo credit: iStock

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