Aging Gracefully: 7 Activities To Help You Stay Young At Heart
At Open Mortgage, it is our belief that we should all be on a journey to self-improvement. As we age, there are additional considerations to apply to this journey we call life, but the heart of it remains the same: How can I improve myself and, by extension, the world around me? Here’s some inspiration for continuing your quest for optimum mental, physical and emotional wellness, far into your senior years.
Though lots of inspirational athletes compete into their 80s and 90s—like this 94-year-old powerlifter—no one needs to worry about setting records to feel strong and healthy. The Center for Disease Control suggests anything that gets your body moving for about 150 minutes a week (or 2.5 hours total). The best exercise includes a mix of mild cardio and muscle strengthening, and if it’s been a while, that’s okay; you can break exercise up into 10-minute increments and still see the benefits.
Yoga isn’t just for the extremely flexible. Despite being low impact, it’s excellent at building core strength, and it’s also proven to relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, and improve respiratory functions and joint flexibility at all ages, and there are appropriate exercises for all levels. Some prefer to practice at home alone, while others find group classes and in-person instruction helpful in gauging technique and progress.
There’s nothing better than knowing that playing our favorite games isn’t just a way to pass the time; it’s also contributing to brain health. Research shows that “older adults who did exercises to shore up the speed at which they processed visual information could cut by nearly half their likelihood of cognitive decline or dementia over a 10-year period.” That means games that increase memory and reasoning skills should be a part of the daily routine. Examples include crossword puzzles, card games, jigsaw puzzles, and even video games. After all, why should the grandkids get to have all the fun?
Getting older comes with its fair share of anxiety. One way to quiet the mind and find peace to improve health comes through practicing meditation. The benefits aren’t just mental: research shows meditation can decrease inflammation in the body, reduce infections, and help with insomnia, too. There are many forms of meditation, and seniorplanet.org offers resources on choosing the right style and instruction.
Eat a balanced diet
Our food choices affect our physical health. Think of diet as a form of medication, without the negative side effects. A good diet is especially important for seniors with past health problems, and following a nutritional plan can help get diabetes or heart disease under control. Preparing food at home saves money and ensures ingredients are wholesome. Get the family involved for some quality time (and help in the kitchen, too).
Get involved in the community
Retired folks are integral to nonprofits and volunteer groups in any city; organizations often need help during the day when others are at work, and schools especially need involved volunteers with subject knowledge and skills honed from years of experience. For active seniors, staying busy as a volunteer means socializing with others, which research shows leads to prolonged life and increased happiness. Look for volunteer opportunities through local community centers, religious institutions, and nearby schools.
Learn something new
It’s never too late to learn a new skill, which means there’s no better time to start than now. Take classes for something you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s a form of art, playing an instrument, or getting better at a recreational activity (fishing, anyone?). While many private companies offer classes for adults, there are lots of low- or no-cost options for seniors to attend college classes, too.
Aging gracefully can also mean having a reverse mortgage to help ease some financial burdens that are unique to seniors. Contact one of our loan originators today to find out more.