A well-balanced diet and adequate physical activity are the foundation of a healthy lifestyle for a person of any age. However, for seniors over 60, this is particularly applicable. In order to age well, it’s said that seniors must practice good lifestyle habits, stay active and eat well. Adhering to nutrition, activity and lifestyle guidelines for their age and physical health can greatly impact their ability to remain healthy with a high quality of life well through their senior years.
Every senior is different. Some are fortunate enough to be generally healthy, while others may battle chronic illnesses or mobility challenges. The common misconception is that seniors can’t and shouldn’t exercise. People might say that in their age they should simply “slow down and relax” for fear of overdoing it, falling or injuring themselves. However, research indicates that seniors who exercise regularly are seven times likely to live longer, healthier lives. It’s important to recognize that the definition of “regular exercise” is different for everyone, and before beginning any exercise plan it should be doctor approved.
Benefits of regular exercise include:
- Weight management/maintenance
- Increased physical endurance
- Maintaining bone/muscle health
- Strengthening heart, lungs and vascular systems
- Enhances mood
- Provides restful sleep
- Reduces fatigue
When talking about diet and nutrition for seniors, it’s important to focus on both quality and quantity. A well-balanced diet should consist of proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber. Vitamins, nutrients and a generous amount of water and other fluids are critical for a healthy lifestyle as well. Quantity is just as important. The changing nature of a senior’s body calls for specific amounts of vitamins and nutrients. It’s recommended to follow suggested intake requirements, and consult with a doctor about what foods to include and/or avoid in conjunction with current health conditions.
Benefits of a well-balanced diet include:
- Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Decreases chance of heart disease, cancer and other chronic conditions
- Promotes energy
- Boosts mood
- Controls weight
- Improves digestion