Staying Active in Body and Mind: How Seniors Can Maintain a Healthy, Happy Lifestyle

It’s easy for seniors to fall into a sluggish mindset once the pace of life changes and the demands of work and a busy family life slack off. Once that’s behind you, it can be difficult to stay active enough to stave off many of the mental and physical ills that often plague older adults. Depression, which affects more than 6 million seniors according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, may set in as day-to-day connections gradually slip away and interactions become less frequent. Finding ways to remain active in body and mind is essential if you’re to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Here are a few simple tips to bear in mind.


Keep Moving

You don’t have to be a track star or start pumping iron at the gym to stay active. Staying physically engaged can be as easy as walking a couple of laps around the running track at the park every day, enjoying a little tennis with friends, joining a water aerobics class, or learning yoga. Ultimately, it comes down to whatever you enjoy most (bear in mind that exercising with friends may make it easier to stay motivated).


Finding Your Musical Voice

Music has many mental health benefits. It’s especially good for keeping your cognitive faculties sharp and boosting memory. It can even help Alzheimer’s patients in a number of ways. A University of Miami study revealed that music therapy increased levels of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine in Alzheimer’s patients, an important finding because these brain chemicals are involved with positive feelings, which help alleviate stress and elevate mood. Learning to play an instrument helps seniors mentally and physically. It reduces stress, improves hearing and memory, and even gives you a more socially active outlook. And you can even learn to play an instrument online in the privacy of your own home. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn the saxophone, check out some online lessons and spend some time researching the right saxophone for you — there are many kinds, from soprano to baritone or bass saxophones.


Fighting Allergies

Allergies can be a persistent problem, regardless of age. Many people spend years looking for the ideal solution. Believe it or not, the right diet can have a markedly positive effect on allergy sufferers. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds, and fish) has been linked to fewer allergies, and probiotics — like yogurt, which has anti-inflammatory qualities —  can also help keep the effects of allergies under control. More olive oil, less margarine, and cutting out alcohol are also good approaches for senior allergy sufferers.


Continue Your Education

So you’ve retired or are nearing retirement. There’s no rule that says you can’t continue your education, whatever that means to you. There are plenty of options for people who want to finish a degree or just take a few classes for fun. Why not look into some classes at your local community college or check out opportunities to take college-level classes online? There are also many educational institutions offering full degree programs online or classes just for fun. Learn to speak French or renew your interest in history; it’s a great way to keep your brain active.

Staying active is vital for seniors looking to improve their quality of life. Activity and engagement drive motivation and give you energy. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to stay active — just the way that makes you happy and keeps you coming back for more.


Written by guest blogger Jason Lewis


Image courtesy of Pixabay