Easy New Year’s Health Resolutions for Seniors
The start of a new year is traditionally the time we vow to do better in various areas of our lives because it’s bright with the promise of new beginnings.
But over the years, we tend to become disenchanted with the idea of trying to change, because of the trail of resolutions that weren’t kept.
If that describes you, our primary care doctors in Delray Beach want to suggest a few simple resolutions you can make to improve your health and your life that are easy to keep.
This may be the most important change you can make in your life if you want to remain healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sleep is the time when the body repairs itself, so it’s vital to get seven to nine hours’ regularly.
Some ways to improve your sleep:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bedtime.
- Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom.
- Avoid late afternoon naps.
If these tips don’t help, talk to us. There may be physical reasons why you’re not sleeping well.
We know we emphasize a healthy diet all the time, but maybe you don’t want to give up your favorite foods even if you know they’re not good for you.
So just resolve to do one or two simple things, like tasting your food before you automatically reach for the saltshaker, or adding one fruit or a handful of nuts to your daily diet. Switch out a meal of red meat for fish once a week, or try baking a dish instead of frying it. There’s no need to revamp your entire menu to reap the benefits of better eating.
Slow, relaxed belly breathing not only helps reduce stress and help you sleep better but also delivers oxygenated blood to every cell of your body, helping improve your overall health.
Here’s how: Lie flat; place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Breathe slowly, ensuring the hand on your belly rises and the hand on your chest doesn’t move. That’s all there is to it.
Adults over the age of 60 are at higher risk of dehydration because their thirst levels tend to drop with age, especially in winter. They may also tend to drink less to cut down on bathroom trips, especially at night. They also may be on diuretics or other medications that can cause fluid loss.
But the National Council on Aging (NCOA) points out that adequate hydration improves brain performance and heart function, aids in digestion, confers more energy, decreases joint pain and the risk of kidney stones, and helps waste and toxin removal.
So consume plenty of water-rich foods like soups, teas, and water-rich vegetables, and sip up to eight glasses of water throughout the day.
You don’t need to hit the gym regularly to get the benefits of exercise, which include increased bone density and muscle mass, better sleep, and improved balance and mood.
Easy exercises for seniors include tai chi or qi gong, water aerobics, walking, and even stretching.
Some other simple exercises to help preserve balance:
- Sit-to-stand: Get up from a straight-backed chair 10-20 times without using your hands.
- One-legged stands: With a wall or chair nearby, stand on one foot for 30 seconds, then switch to the other foot.
- Heel-to-toe walk: Take 20 steps while looking straight ahead.
Clean up Clutter
Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older. The risk of falls increases with age and is greater for women than for men: Over half of seniors aged 80 and older fall every year.
So one easy resolution to make: Survey your home for tripping triggers and unsafe areas. Pick up items from the floor, use double-sided tape to secure throw rugs, and ensure cords and cables are out of the way.
Studies show that when people maintain connections with others, they are mentally and physically healthier than those who tend to isolate themselves.
So if you don’t have a regular job, try volunteering. Non-profit organizations are desperate for your skills, no matter what they are.
Join a club, take up a communal hobby or sport, or reach out to others on social media.
Quit for your Health
If you’re still smoking, at least try cutting back, if you can’t quit entirely. Wait one hour in the morning before having your first cigarette, and skip the one you usually have before bedtime. Or plan to chew a stick of gum in place of every other cigarette you’d normally smoke.
And if you want help to quit, see us for ideas and medications that can ease the transition.
Let Us Help You
Schedule regular checkups with us, and especially stay up to date on all vaccines: COVID-19 boosters, flu, pneumonia, and shingles.
Once a year let us review your medications to check for dosages, side effects, and any possible negative interactions, especially if you’ve started new ones in the previous year.
And, as always, let us know if you’re experiencing any changes in your health, or if anything concerns you. The earlier problems are caught, the easier they are to treat.