Many conditions that afflict the elderly can be treated through diet and exercise. But these cornerstone practices need to be balanced with proper rest, sleep, stress management, and social activities.
The reason diet is so important is that all the parts of our body are made up of the chemicals and other molecules we get from food. Therefore it is critical that our diet is rich in these elements:
In fact, our bodies are made up of more than 50% water! Perhaps even just drinking adequate water every day could have a positive impact.
A balanced diet would consist mainly of the following:
Most seniors can reduce their intake of meat, eggs, and diary products. Portion size in general should match our metabolism. The more active a person is, the more calories they will require.
Physical activity of all kinds are very beneficial to overall health. But exercise can be problematic for seniors due to knee and foot problems that make walking and other movement difficult. Chronic pain and conditions with the heart and lungs must be very seriously considered what determining the most helpful kinds and amounts of activity and exercise.
Many seniors react best to low impact, low resistance exercises such as walking and swimming. Ancient exercise systems such as tai chi and qi gong are especially effective for balance, flexibility, and breathing. Muscle strength is also very important to staying mobile and resistant to injury. Exercise machines and weight lifting can be very helpful for rebuilding and maintaining muscles. Although physical activity can difficult, we can encourage activity in spite of this.
We can forget about how these practices are necessary for a healthy lifestyle, especially as we get older. If we are physically active, the body needs to rest and recover from that activity. Good nutrition can also help with that recovery. But as we focus on the physical aspects of health, we can neglect our emotional and mental health.
A good night’s sleep can make a world of difference to our energy level, positive outlook, and emotional stress. Meditative activities, hobbies, and regular social engagement can create healthy, creative, and enjoyable experiences that are built on the cornerstones of diet and exercise.
A wealth of additional information about healthy living for seniors can be found here.