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Health & Fitness

Keeping fit and healthy in your later years

Too many people picture someone in their 20s or 30s when you mention the words fit and healthy. Fitness and health are essential for people who fall within all age groups. If you find yourself in your later years and are wondering about ways in which you can achieve a fit and healthy life, continue reading for some ideas that should help.

Regular Check Ups

Sometimes, it can be difficult to assess what is happening inside your body. You may feel well in yourself, yet your blood pressure or cholesterol are telling a different story. Therefore, it is imperative to have regular check-ups with your doctor. Some offer this service as a matter of course, whereas others will need to be requested to see you and do a full body check.

Going through this process once or twice a year will allow any potential underlying health issues to be flagged up and addressed as a matter of urgency.

Balanced Diet

Whether you are 20, 30 or 70, the importance of a balanced diet continues to exist. While many people focus on what they put in their mouths linking up to the numbers on the scales, there are many other things that should be considered linked to a balanced diet, too. For example, reducing the amount of salt we consumer is imperative for most people. Too much can impact negatively on our health. Likewise, too much sugar can also harm us.

If you think back to being at school, you will remember learning about different food groups and perhaps the food pyramid. This can give you a basic idea of what to eat plenty of and what to limit. You should aim for at least half of your plate being vegetables with carbohydrates making up slightly less than protein from the half that is left. Be careful of the size of your plate, too, and don’t pile things up.

However, just because a balanced diet is vital does not mean that you cannot have a little of what you fancy ever now and then. It would be a boring life if you didn’t allow yourself to indulge sometimes.

Adapted Lifestyle

Whether you are ready for a few changes in your home or you are thinking ahead, it is always worth weighing up your options to ensure that things are ready when the time is right. For example, if you live in a house, you may need to consider that at some point, the stairs could get tricky. From handrails to stairlifts, there are things that can help you retain independence for the foreseeable future.

If your health does take a turn for the worse, having reliable help at hand is imperative. Investigating options and finding the best medical alert system for you and your needs will help you to feel safer in your own home. Investing in medical alert jewellery might be worth considering, too.

Activity Levels

It doesn’t matter whether you are currently able to do nothing more than wander around the supermarket or if you go hiking on a regular basis, keeping your activity levels up is important. Regular exercise where your heart rate increases, through cycling or brisk walking for example, but you are still able to maintain a basic conversation, is great for both your physical and mental health.

There are so many fitness classes and clubs that you could join, suitable for all ages and abilities. If you love music, Zumba gold might be worth considering. However, many people worry about their mobility and so discount it, but there are seated classes available in many areas, providing a much needed and enjoyable workout that can be done from a chair.

If your joints play you up, doing exercise in the water can be fun and relieve the pressure. Also, massage chair can be good for general aches and pain or just for some relaxation at the end of the day, especially for elder people. Aqua fitness classes are popular, but if they don’t sound like your cup of tea, you may wish to try gentle swimming combined with stretches in the water. If you are wishing to incorporate a more intense physical regime into your week, be sure to consult a medical expert first, if you have been doing very little or nothing for a while. They will be able to assess how suitable your desired exercise plan is for your body based on any healthy conditions and your current fitness levels.

Keeping up your activity levels doesn’t have to be formal exercise though. Pottering around in the garden, taking trips to the coast and having a wander around, walking the dog; all three of those things are great ways to keep active.

Healthy Mind

Physical fitness is absolutely a priority, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t also focus on your mental health. In fact, when you do any form of physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which are natural, feel-good hormones. So, the two are intrinsically linked anyway. However, on top of regular exercise that raises your pulse, there are things you should consider to keep your mental wellbeing in good shape, too.

It’s natural to consider the years gone by and feel sadness, regret and disappointment. However, doing so serves absolutely no purpose. In fact, it impacts negatively on your mental health. Each day, spend a small amount of time reflecting on your life as it is now and consider three things that have made you grateful. For example, it could be that someone made you a cracking cup of coffee or that the plumber arrived and fixed the hot water.

Alternatively, you may have had a visit from a grandchild or a lovely chat with a neighbour you’d not seen for a while. Having an attitude of gratitude can make a dramatic difference to your mental health.

Loneliness is something that many people worry about as they age, especially if they have been widowed. This is natural. However, that does not mean that you are incapable of doing something to combat those feelings. Joining a local club and spending time with others will ensure you have someone to talk to. Invest in a tablet, connect to the Wi-Fi and do a video call with a faraway friend or family member. Be sociable and those feelings will be less intense.

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