Spring is officially here, even if it doesn’t feel like it in Pennsylvania today! Pretty soon, we will turn our attention from shoveling snow and remembering our gloves, to whose barbecue we’ll be at this weekend and which pair of shorts to wear!
With a new season comes a new opportunity for you to make better decisions about your life and your health. Luckily, there are small changes that you can make in order to be healthier by summer!
Get Enough Sleep
You aren’t your best when you’re tired or groggy. You are irritable and have trouble focusing on everyday tasks. The bad news is that insomnia is very common for people at retirement age. The good news is that senior citizens need less sleep than younger adults (around 7 hours), according to a 2008 study.
If you’re having trouble getting to or staying asleep at night, try to avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol before bed. Also try to avoid working on the computer or watching television, as well as exercise. All of these things can stimulate your brain and keep you awake much longer. Try setting a goal bed time and aiming to get the correct, customized amount of sleep so that you feel perfectly rested!
Drink Enough Water
You’ve probably heard that it’s good to aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Well, that recommendation remains the same when you reach retirement age. Drinking the recommended amount of water per day has many health benefits, from weight control to healthier skin. But if you don’t love the boring taste of water, here are a few other ways to stay hydrated:
- Eat fruit
- Add fruit to your water for flavor
- Eat certain vegetables, such as cucumbers
- Drink Milk
Kick a Bad Habit
We’ve all got them. From sneaking our favorite cookies to smoking, there are plenty of habits that we develop that can have a negative effect on your health. But what do you gain by giving them up? It turns out that you get a lot. According to a 2012 study, “… A vibrant social life and quitting smoking can add five years to women’s lives and six years to men’s.”
That is five to six more years of growing your garden, celebrating birthdays with best friends, and watching grandchildren grow up. These are all things worth kicking your habits for! Whatever your vice, start small when removing it from your life. If necessary, consult the help of a doctor or a nutritionist who can help you make the right decisions for your health.
Add Super Foods to Your Diet
AARP recently came out with an article on “super foods.” These are foods that have an exceptional amount of nutrients and health benefits. The five foods that AARP highlighted were artichokes, asparagus, fava beans, arugula, and green peas. Explore your favorite recipes for ways to incorporate these super foods. And if this small list doesn’t sound very delicious, here is a list of 50 super foods that you can pile on your plate!
Protect Yourself From the Sun
The sun is a warm welcome after a winter filled with snowy days, but that doesn’t mean that the sun is always your friend. Seniors still need to protect their skin from harmful UV rays by choosing a broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, but more is better! Check out this handy information from Bayhealth Medical Center on senior skin.
The small choices that you make each day can effect your health in big ways. Make the right choices and let this be the healthiest spring yet!
Yoga can help those who practice with a wide variety of problems – from anxiety and pain to digestion and diabetes. It can help make you calm, flexible, and healthy. According to Livestrong, “Participants in a medical study in India saw their blood pressure decrease during three months of yoga.”
But it can be extremely intimidating! Especially if you’re at retirement age and have never practiced it before. The good news is that anyone can do yoga, and it’s never too late to try. You may just need to adapt your workout in order to not push the limits of what your body can do.
Everyone’s level of physical activity is different. If you’re active, you may consider yoga to be quite easy. If you aren’t used to working out, it might feel extremely difficult at first. No matter what you think you are capable of, start off small. This may mean doing yoga for a shorter amount of time at the beginning or skipping moves that are too difficult for you.
Here are some simple poses from AARP that can help you get started on your own. Sherwood Oaks also has yoga classes that are exclusive to residents and perfect for everyone, whether they consider themselves an athlete or a newbie! Classes are offered weekly and are taught by our Fitness Director, a certified yoga instructor. Not only can you consider this a healthy habit, but it’s also a social gathering! We get a great turnout from residents each week.
If you want to get a taste for yoga before you come to a class, you can check out some YouTube videos to try out on your own. Like this one, which shows you some yoga stretches specifically tailored to seniors.
You won’t be able to keep up with everyone – and that’s ok! Remember as you start out that no matter how good you are at something, someone out there is better.
You need to learn the moves that work best for you. This could mean that you choose to do the adapted moves that your instructor gives you. If a pose is difficult for you and your instructor does not give you an adapted pose, go ahead and ask! Your body will thank you for not pushing it too hard.
If you’re practicing yoga on your own, do a simple search for yoga poses that may help your specific ailments. For instance, here are some simple yoga poses that have been shown to provide menopause relief.
Work Your Mind, Too
A lot of yoga focuses more on your breath than the movement of your body. Don’t ignore the part of yoga that explains how to breathe – it is just as important as every stretch! When done correctly, your breath can help you keep up your stamina and promote calm and concentration.
It might be difficult, but don’t give up. Like many kinds of workouts, you will get better the longer you stick with your yoga routine. Each week, you will be a little bit more flexible and a little bit more comfortable with your surroundings.
Have you been a longtime yogi? What are your best tips for beginners?
Whether you choose to embrace it or not, it’s clear that technology is all around us! And while some of it can seem confusing or impossible to learn, some of this technology can help us in more ways than we realize.
Studies show that more and more senior citizens are tapping into technology such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. In fact, there are products out there created JUST FOR senior citizens, like this tablet. And with the rise of these digital machines has also come the rise of the “app.” The American Dialect Society made “app” the 2010 word of the year, defining it as: “An abbreviated form of application, a software program for a computer or phone operating system.”
Apps can be easily downloaded to your computer, phone, and tablet, and many apps can help make life a lot easier! Here are 10 of our favorite apps for senior citizens.
- Find my iPad (Free)– We all get a little bit forgetful sometimes. But misplacing a pen or forgetting your keys on the counter is a much less costly mistake than losing your expensive tablet. iPad owners can rest easier knowing that Find my iPad exists. Find my iPad allows you to track down your missing iPad using a computer or smartphone. And if you lose those items, there are apps for that, too! Available on iOS devices (Apple products.)
- Pillboxie ($.99) – It can be hard to remember what time to take your medicines, which medicines to take, and which doses they are. But Pillboxie can help keep you on track! You can set reminders so that you never forget to take another pill again. Available on iOS devices.
- Eyereader ($1.99) – Does it seem like your eyes are getting worse and that the text on the page you’re reading is getting small and smaller? Instead of carrying around a magnifying glass, just download this app that does the same thing! It is available on iPhone and even allows you to read in dark areas using your phone’s LED flashlight.
- Lumosity (Free) – We’ve talked about the brain training games provided through Lumosity before, but it’s worth a second mention. Keep your brain sharp while having fun. Sounds like a win-win, right? Available on iOS devices.
- Skype (Free) – You may have used Skype on your computer to video chat with friends and family who you don’t always get to see face-to-face. But you can also connect with them over Skype using your tablet or smartphone while you’re on the go – as long as you have Wi-Fi connection. Available on iOS and Android.
- Words With Friends ($4.99) – Playing games are fun. Playing games with friends or family adds in just the right amount of friendly competition to take that fun to the next level! Words With Friends is a Scrabble-like word game where you can challenge other users – like your daughter or next-door neighbor. Available on iOS and Android.
- Goodreads (Free) – We’ve mentioned Goodreads, too, but for someone who is always looking for the next book they can read, it’s great to have the app, too! Available on iOS and Android.
- Facebook (Free) – Facebook is becoming wildly popular with senior citizens for connecting and keeping up with friends and family. The app means that you will never miss a like, comment, or wall post! If you find the regular app too fussy, you can try out the Facebook for Seniors app, if you have an Android device. Available on iOS and Android.
- AARP (Free) – Get the latest news and tips from AARP with their simple app! Available on iOS and Android.
- Yesterday USA – Old Time Radio (Free) – Feel like radio shows just aren’t what they used to be? Yesterday USA allows you to listen to radio shows from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, all for no cost! Available on iOS devices.
Recently, we saw a story on AARP about Ernestine Shepherd, who holds the title of the world’s oldest female bodybuilder. Pretty amazing, right? Ernestine is currently 74, and she didn’t start bodybuilding until she was in her 50’s!
Those who think that you can only reach huge life accomplishments before retirement are very wrong! Retirees can absolutely set big goals and achieve them with hard work, just as they always have. If you need some motivation for doing BIG things during your retirement, here are a few of our favorite success stories to show you it’s never too late to…
Publish a Book
You’ve heard of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” books, but did you know that Laura didn’t begin writing them until 1931, when she was 64 years old? Laura was a previous editor of the St. Louis Star, and her daughter had encouraged her to share her life story through the young adult novels. She wrote them all by 1943, when she was 76! Talk about a late bloomer.
Olive Riley shared her thoughts and ideas on a blog until she passed away in 2008 – at 108 years old. Olive started blogging in 2007, and at the time of her death, she had posted more than 70 entries about her life. The Australian woman’s tales included stories of both World War I and World War II, growing up without today’s luxuries and technologies, and raising three children on her own. What kind of story do YOU have to tell the world?
Start a Company
After a lengthy and successful career in marketing, Cinde Dolphin started her own company at 55 to help winemakers in California promote their businesses online.
According to the New York Times, “More than five million Americans age 55 or older run their own businesses or are otherwise self-employed, according to the Small Business Administration.And the number of self-employed people ages 55 to 64 is soaring, the agency says, climbing 52 percent from 2000 to 2007.”
Is there a business you’ve always had the dream of starting, but didn’t have the time? The time could be now!
Graduate from College
Kansas resident Nola Ochs graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2007 with a bachelor’s in General Studies and concentration in history. She was 95 years old. While a 96-year-old man broke her record in 2009, Nola’s accomplishment is tremendous. And she didn’t stop there. She received her master’s degree in 2010.
According to the FHSU website, Nola said, “I’m very gratified to have attained that distinction. I would like, in the long run, to encourage people to keep on learning. Our education is never complete.”
Learn a New Skill
While she didn’t learn to cook after 50, Julia Child DID put off finding her skill until she was in her mid-30’s. In fact, Julia said, “I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” Her show “The French Chef” didn’t premiere until she was 51.
We wrote a previous post about hobbies you might consider starting during your retirement. Just because you didn’t master something as a young adult, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a pro at it soon!
There is a reason why these are called the “golden years.” Now get out there and shine!