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Posted by The Woodlands on May 1, 2022

Maintaining our physical and mental wellness becomes increasingly important as we get older. Whether through fitness routines, healthy eating or keeping in contact with friends and loved ones, there are many different ways to promote healthy aging.

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we think healthy aging should be fun, not challenging. By following key steps, you can ensure that your retirement years are healthy and enjoyable. Below, we look at some of the best steps to healthy aging, many of which you can start today!

Start a Fitness Routine

One of the best ways to ensure healthy aging is to start (or maintain) a dedicated fitness routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that older adults strive for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.

Although physical fitness can be achieved in many ways, here are a few fun activities that can help you meet this goal:

  • Take a brisk walk every morning (or evening) 
  • Ride a stationary bicycle
  • Play a sport like pickleball
  • Engage in lightweight strength training exercises
  • Practice mobility and flexibility

Physical activity helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, strengthens muscles and bones, maintains a healthy weight and improves mood while reducing stress. By strengthening your body and improving your mobility, you also can reduce your risk of falling, which is a common danger for older adults.

In addition to their baseline guidance, the CDC recommends that older adults spend two days a week on a strength training program and three days practicing balance and mobility.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

Fitness is just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the only component of healthy aging. Eating nutrient-rich, fresh foods and maintaining a balanced diet is another piece. 

Fortunately, many delicious foods have tremendous health benefits, including several that are excellent for brain health. Try to include some of these into your regular diet:

  • Leafy Greens: This umbrella term covers many versatile vegetables, including kale, broccoli and spinach. Packed with beta carotene, folate and vitamin K, leafy greens are not only easy to incorporate into nearly every meal – they are instrumental in delaying cognitive decline.
  • Eggs: Choline is known to reduce inflammation while improving communication between brain cells. Eggs are a great source of choline and another versatile food that can be part of your daily diet.
  • Fatty fish: Different fish such as cod, salmon and tuna provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  • Walnuts: Although many nuts provide health benefits, walnuts are among the best because of their protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Walnuts can reduce inflammation and enhance cardiovascular health.
  • Berries: Some of the most delicious foods on the planet are also good for your health. By including blueberries in your daily diet, you will gain the health benefits of manganese, flavonoids and vitamin K.

The Woodlands at Canterfield will offer only the healthiest ingredients in our dining experiences. By combining a healthy and balanced diet with regular physical activity, you will be on the right path to healthy aging.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is another vital component of healthy aging, but it is often one of the most overlooked. For many people, getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge. For others, it is a nearly impossible task.

Unfortunately, lack of sleep negatively impacts your overall health and wellness. When you don’t sleep, your body does not have time to relax and recover. As a result, lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, a sharp decline in cognitive function, and a dramatically increased risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia.

Here are some steps you can take to improve your sleep routine:

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Get exercise every day
  • Turn down lights in the evening
  • Shut off the television and any screens an hour before bed
  • If possible, keep your bedroom cool (which makes it easier to fall asleep)

Spend Time with Friends and Family

Studies have shown that older people who have close connections live longer, experience less depression and cope better with health conditions, according to healthinaging.org.

Whether you call your family members, meet up with friends for lunch or spend time in your community, connecting with others improves health and wellness, boosts mood and just makes you smile! 

Do What You Love

One final item on our steps to healthy aging is to continue finding meaningful activities where you can invest your time, talent and energy.

For some people, this can mean volunteering within the community. For others, it might be engaging in art or music. The main factor is that it is something that fills you with a sense of purpose and vitality. That alone can generate so much joy and positive energy in your life – and it will often influence the other items on this list.

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, our senior living community in West Dundee, Illinois, helps older adults live healthy and purposeful lives through assisted living and memory support. Visit our website today to learn more!

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