You’ve likely heard the sage advice that eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are crucial to helping older adults stay healthy. In addition, striving for better brain health, memory and socialization can boost the wellbeing of older adults. Cultivating each aspect starts with taking stock of your health habits today and where you’d like to get to in the future.
As the seasons change, checking in on your health and wellness goals can spark excitement and inspire better habits. Read on for helpful ways to boost health across the body, brain and gut so you can live more easily and confidently.
Boost your body’s health through physical activity
With spring’s brighter days and better weather, getting out and about more independently is easier. It can also be easier to get together with friends and family, which helps to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is important because experiencing loneliness can be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Pairing social time with an activity like walking or hiking offers the bonus of improving your strength, stamina and balance. Maintaining regular physical activity is essential to help prevent falls, accounting for 85% of hospitalizations among seniors annually.
Doing outdoor activities like walking and gardening can also improve cardiovascular health, increase vitamin D and be a natural mood booster. Finding classes held in parks, outdoor pools and community centres is another excellent way to enjoy the sunshine and get moving.
- Go for a walk with a friend or loved one to get outdoors and socialize at the same time
- Find activities or exercise classes that inspire you to stay active
- Consult your health care provider or download the TELUS Health MyCareTM app for free to see how you can book virtual appointments with trusted experts
Boost your memory and brain health through learning
Taking care of your physical body is just one aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and feeling more confident and independent. Looking after your memory and cognitive skills means flexing your brain power in different ways. Taking up a new hobby, like learning a language or joining a cooking class, can challenge your brain and offer the opportunity to meet new people. Learning and socialization can improve mental health and confidence while helping you develop new skills and relationships.
If you like solo puzzles and games, choosing mind and memory-stimulating options like crosswords, Sudoku or card games can also boost your brain health. You can build healthy cognitive habits by downloading and using the free BrainFit app3, along with finding endless options at the bookstore or online, perhaps adding a little friendly competition by recruiting friends and family members to join the fun.
- Check your local library or community centre for classes, clubs and events that might interest you
- Keep brain game puzzles and activities on hand for when boredom strikes, and invite loved ones to join your play in person or online
- Connect with a TELUS Health MyCareTM counsellor virtually to access additional mental health support
Boost your gut health and enjoy seasonal ingredients
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is vital to preventing and managing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. A healthy diet can also help improve the gut-brain connection — a relationship between a person’s intestinal biome and mood. Consulting a registered dietitian about how you can adjust your diet for specific needs is a helpful way to improve your digestive health and the gut-brain connection. A trusted expert can also help navigate how different foods may interact with your medications, vitamins and supplements. As you try foods and ingredients, consider maintaining a food journal to help identify what works best for you over time.
Incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks can inspire creativity. For example, infusing your water with fresh berries or cucumber slices can encourage you to stay hydrated, while adding watermelon or strawberries to your recipes incorporates seasonal flair to any plate.
- Consult a professional to help evaluate your diet for your needs and ensure there are no contraindications with your medications, vitamins or supplements
- Start a food journal as you try out new recipes or ingredients to keep track of what you like (or what you don’t like)
- Stay hydrated with the help of your favourite fruits or vegetables as snacks or added to your water
As you explore new ways to boost your body, brain and gut health, consider speaking with your friends and family to share what you’re trying. Getting extra support by including your loved ones or health care providers is a helpful way to stay accountable and stick to your health goals so you can live with more ease and confidence.