Essential Lifestyle Changes to Adapt in Your Golden Years

Reanna Jeffers
December 12, 2023

Image credit: Pexels

With age, the body and mind undergo changes that can affect our overall health and well-being. Common age-associated conditions include hearing and vision loss, back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, dementia, and more. Without the proper care, seniors can develop health issues and complications that could have otherwise been prevented or delayed. Fortunately, there are still things you can do to maintain good health as you age. Here are some essential lifestyle changes that can help you maintain a healthy, fulfilling life in your golden years:

Get quality sleep

Sleep is crucial for health at any age, but seniors can benefit immensely from good quality sleep. A lack of sleep can cause mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and these issues can also impact sleep in turn. Sleep is also essential for maintaining the body’s functions and keeping you in top condition physically and mentally. Seniors who get six hours of sleep or less a night may be at risk of having their cognitive health negatively impacted.

To ensure better sleep, it’s best to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. To help you fall asleep, you can create a bedtime routine involving relaxing activities such as taking a warm bath or reading a book. Switching off your devices can also help you sleep better. Technology can be a factor for insomnia, as the blue light from phones, computers, or TVs can affect the release of melatonin—the sleep hormone. Stimulation from devices can also keep your brain active and disrupt your sleep. Turn them off a few hours before bed for a good night’s rest.

Keep moving

Upon reaching your golden years, you may experience some issues with mobility and strength. But that doesn't mean exercise is now off the table. In fact, it's more important than ever to get moving when you're an older adult. Physical activity keeps your body healthy and strong, preventing or delaying age-related ailments. Consistent exercise allows you to go about your daily life independently.

If possible, older adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, which can be broken up into 30-minute workouts over five days. You can do brisk walks, water aerobics, biking, and more to get your blood pumping. Strength-building exercises also prevent muscle loss with age. Lift weights, work in the garden, or do some yoga poses to keep you strong. Find an exercise you enjoy doing so you can stay consistent and have fun.

Take care of your eye health

Changes in eye health and vision are inevitable with age, but not taking the proper measures to care for it can lead to the development of eye conditions or worse vision. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in your vision and have them addressed to mitigate any issues related to eye health.

Wearing eyeglasses is one of the simplest ways to care for your eyes, helping you see clearly and prevent injuries from slips or falls. You can easily buy a high-quality and stylish pair of glasses online from top brands like Ray-Ban, which is helpful if you have mobility issues or can’t visit a physical store. Models like the Round Metal Optics or Erika Optics are durable, comfortable, stylish, and easily customizable to your vision needs, so you can keep them for a long time. Preventative eye care exams should be done once or twice a year for seniors. They can help you notice any eye conditions that may be developing, allowing you to take steps to prevent or delay them. If you have an eye condition, you may benefit from eye surgery to help preserve your eyes’ health. Seeking professional help for your vision help can help you regain functionality and independence.

Quit smoking

Even in your golden years, it’s not too late to give up smoking. Smoking can lead to various chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and more. It’s also associated with accelerated aging. It shortens the end fragments of chromosomes in the white blood cells, which indicates how quickly you age and your cells’ ability to repair and regenerate.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, especially without the right guidance or support. Fortunately, there are many resources available that can help. Quitlines, chatbots, and mobile apps can provide some advice and recommendations to help manage cravings and withdrawals to keep you motivated. Smoke and tobacco-free nicotine replacement therapy products, like nicotine patches or gum, can give you a dose of nicotine to help you gradually quit smoking. Support groups or help from family and friends can encourage you to stay away from cigarettes and make the journey less isolating by holding you accountable and celebrating wins.

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