It’s a New Year and time to set those New Year resolutions. According to WalletHub, about 44 percent of American set New Years resolutions but only 31 percent of those people will actually keep them.
Resolutions don’t have to be dramatic changes but especially as we age, even small changes can make a big difference in our health. If your goal this year is to increase your life expectancy and live life to the fullest, here are a few healthy resolutions you should set today.
Eat Healthier. Our bodies need a wide variety of nutrients to operate well. What we eat provides us with energy and can also help fight off diseases, especially as we age. To eat healthier this year, choose foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, lean meats and beans are always a good choice. Avoid foods that satisfy a craving but are high in fat and calories. Weight gain is a serious problem for seniors who may struggle to stay active so try to balance the calories you consume with the amount of exercise you do.
Exercise More. An object in motion stays in motion but it’s no secret that it gets harder to move as we age. Don’t let your age stop you from getting moving! Even a small walk or chair exercises can build muscle and get the blood pumping. It’s especially important for seniors to work on exercises that improve balance and strength as these are commonly weak areas. Senior community centers all over the country offer low cost exercise classes for seniors. Try to find a center near you!
Exercise the brain. Playing simple puzzle games can help keep brain function strong. Challenge yourself with games that call for problem solving and strategy and are new and different each day. Playing these games can improve your memorization skills and concentration.
Socialize more. It’s natural to lose connections with friends over the years but as we age it becomes increasingly more important to keep loved ones close. Adults who interact with family and friends regularly are less likely to experience depression or feel isolated. Studies have even shown that regularly socializing can decrease your chance of developing dementia.
Sleep better. Good sleep is important for every stage of your life. It gives our brains and bodies a much-needed break to recharge and refocus for the day ahead. Good sleep can improve cognitive function and is just as important as diet and exercise.
Use your Time Wisely. Practicing better time management may not seem like a health goal but when you are spending more time working on yourself you will definitely feel better and more energized! Setting and accomplishing goals gives a small boost of endorphins that can help push you to keep going!
Make Time to Laugh. Laughter is an incredibly important part of life and it can actually have amazing health benefits too. Laughing can reduce blood pressure, fight depression and relieve stress. There are even laughter yoga classes that help encourage laughter for an hour each day.
Of course no matter what goals you set, they are of no use if you don’t keep them. Here are a few of the top tips for sticking to your goals:
Make it timely. Goals should be as specific as possible with a clear beginning and end. It also helps people to keep their goals if the ending isn’t too far away. Rather than setting a goal for the year, maybe set a goal for each month. If you mess up on the first month it’s OK to start fresh the next!
Make it fun.No one wants to continue doing something that isn’t fun. You may not like eating healthy or exercising in the beginning but if you can find an activity you enjoy to help you meet your goals it makes keeping them much more possible. Maybe you can get your exercise by playing a sport with friends or eat healthier by trying a new menu item each time you go out to eat.
Share with a friend. Find a friend who is just as committed to your success as you are and you will have a natural cheerleader. Find someone who has already accomplished the goal you want to do and they can become a mentor and an accountability coach to help keep you on track.
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