Tips for Active Older Adults to Enjoy A Healthier 2017

Last updated: December 16, 2016, at 11:58 a.m. PT

Originally published: December 11, 2016, at 9:09 p.m. PT

Making a New Year’s resolution to eat better, exercise, watch your weight, or see your healthcare provider regularly, can help you get healthier and feel better for many more years to come. Try these tips to help achieve your goal of becoming and staying healthy in the New Year!

  •  Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats: In later life, you still need healthy foods, but fewer calories. Your doctor or a Y nutrition coach can help you make good choices. Try a variety of fruits and vegetables across the color spectrum that all contain different vitamins. Upping your calcium and Vitamin D intake will help to keep your bones strong. Using healthier fats, such as olive and canola oils, instead of butter will help increase healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Be Active: Physical activity can be safe and healthy for older adults — even if you have heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis! In fact, many of these conditions get better with mild to moderate physical activity. Exercises such as tai chi, water aerobics, walking, and stretching can also help you build muscle and bones, and improve your balance, posture, and mood.
  • See your doctor regularly: Make a habit of scheduling an annual wellness visit with your healthcare provider around your birthday month to discuss health screenings and any changes in your health. Screening tests might include checking your vision, hearing, and for other conditions.
  • Toast with a smaller glass: Over indulging in alcohol can cause trouble sleeping, interact with your medications, and can contribute to other health problems.
  • Protect yourself against falls: One in every three older adults falls each year. Exercises such as walking or working out with an elastic band can increase your strength, balance, and flexibility to help you avoid falls. Group exercise classes like Tai Chi and yoga also help with balance and increased range of motion. Consider eliminating items in your home that are easy to trip over, like throw rugs.
  • Give your brain a workout: Just like your body, your brain needs exercise too! The more you give it a workout, the longer it will stay agile. Try fun brain games like Sudoku or crossword puzzles. Or spend some time with a good book. Socializing also gives your brain a boost, try an event at your Y like a book discussion group.
  • Don't be afraid to let people know when you feel down or anxious: About 1 in 5 older adults suffers from depression or anxiety.  Some possible signs of depression can be lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite, or pleasure in doing things you once enjoyed. You may also have difficulty sleeping, worry, irritability, and wanting to be alone. If you have any of these signs for more than two weeks, talk to your healthcare provider and reach out to friends and family.
  • Get enough sleep: Older adults need just as much sleep in their later years than when they were younger. At least 7 to 8 hours a night. Cut out daytime naps, which can keep you up in the evening and substitute with a fun physical activity or day trip with a senior group.

For more information about Active Older Adult offerings and how to get involved, visit your local Y!