While in this day and age where most of us are increasingly sedentary, it’s even more difficult for senior citizens to stay in shape. We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to get out of the house and go for a walk, especially in the colder months. However, the great news is that while there is the technology that encourages us to stay in our seats, there are just as many options that can help keep us active indoors. However, it’s not just the exercise that we need to consider, but proper nutrition as well. We have some of the best natural health tips and tricks for senior citizens right here, so let’s take a look!
1. Take Your Measurements
It’s important to know where your body weight is in terms of health so you can take the correct steps to either maintaining or improving upon it.
We all know that the body changes as we get older, and if your activity level has taken a dip, your muscles may not work like they used to.
This isn’t about being hard on ourselves – simply knowing which steps to take.
Being overweight can place us at an increased risk of a myriad of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure/cholesterol, kidney disease, and much more. To avoid this, we need to keep our weight in check.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
This is a measurement based on your weight compared to your height.
If you’re unsure of your BMI, take a look at the online tool here. It’s recommended that seniors have a BMI between 25 and 27.
However, this shouldn’t be the only spec you look at, as you can have a healthy BMI and still be carrying excess body fat. This is why we recommend measuring your waist size, as well.
You can do this yourself or have someone do it for you.
Simply take a tape measure around the smallest part of your waist. If you’re a woman, you want your waist to be less than 35 inches around, and for men, under 40 inches.
It’s just as important to remember that being underweight can be cause for concern, too.
Underweight seniors can be at an increased risk for weakness and bone loss, as well as a lowered immune system.
This, among so many other reasons, is why proper nutrition is increasingly important.
Did you know that as we age, we require fewer calories?
However, our nutritional requirements remain the same. That means that we should place extra focus on nutrient-dense foods.
If you’re unsure of where to start, colourful foods are always a good choice. Here are some specific examples:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole-grain bread
- Seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
- Beans, peas, seeds
Not only is it important to incorporate these foods into your diet, but you should also try to limit your intake of others:
- Beverages and food with added sugars
- Solid fats (butter, shortening, lard, etc.)
We know this is a lot to take in. However, you must also limit the number of calories you consume – it’s not enough to just eat the “right” ones.
You’ve heard “everything in moderation” before. It’s true! Generally speaking, men will require a higher amount of calories than women, though there are many factors to consider here.
Weight, gender, metabolism, and your general activity level all play a role in how much you should consume.
A portion is the quantity of food or beverage you consume in one sitting.
Many of us are not aware of recommended portion sizes and are consuming 2 or 3+ times the amount we should be. Restaurants are notorious purveyors of multiple portions on one plate.
This doesn’t mean you can’t eat out at restaurants, though! If you find your portion is larger than one serving, simply box it up and eat it the next day!
If you’re with someone who has the same tastes as you, you can also share your meal with them instead. That way you’re saving your wallet and your waistline!
Another easy way to eat too much is by eating while you’re watching the TV or browsing the internet.
It’s all too simple to become distracted and not pay attention to how much we’re consuming while multitasking.
If you sit down without any of these distractions and simply savour your food, you’ll realize that you actually become satisfied quicker.
If you’re unsure of serving sizes, simply take a look at the Nutrition Facts label which will be printed on any food item container.
Not only will it tell you the serving sizes, but the calories and nutrients.
3. Plan Your Meals
Planning ahead is planning for success, even when it comes to your health and wellness.
We all know the feeling when our stomach starts growling and we want to eat the simple and yummy things: chips, candy, soda, baked goods, fast food – you name it.
This is great because of low blood sugar levels. If you are planning your meals and snacks throughout the day, your blood sugar will remain at a consistent and healthy level.
Check out the following tips to make this as easy as possible on yourself:
- Cook ahead and freeze your food so all you have to do is toss it in the oven or microwave when you aren’t feeling like cooking.
- Have some frozen canned fruits ready as perfect snacks or desserts.
- Share meals with a friend or family member who you enjoy being around.
- If you are unable to cook for yourself, try contacting a local program that delivers meals.
- Never skip a meal or snack.
4. Physical Activity
This is an absolutely essential part of your health and can become increasingly difficult as you get older. If you haven’t been very active in the past, it’s never too late.
Beginning regular physical activity will help boost your mood, self-esteem, strength, agility, balance, and endurance.
On top of that, being physically active can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight while avoiding serious health problems.
If you’re already suffering from conditions such as arthritis, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and/or diabetes, it can even help control them and increase your lifespan.
There aren’t any rules about what is considered “good” physical exercise – any physical activities count.
They could range from walking the dog, cleaning up around the house, to playing outside with your grandchild.
However, there are some activities we recommend in particular. Try to regularly participate in activities that are:
- Aerobic (cardio)
- Strengthen muscles
- Improve balance
- Increase flexibility
- Combine one or more of the above
If you really take a liking to aerobic/cardio activities but can’t always make it outside, exercise machines are great alternatives.
If you don’t have any serious issues with balance or sore joints, treadmills can be a helpful and affordable option.
They keep you in an upright position, which can help strengthen your core, along with your spinal erector muscles that can help with your posture and minimize headaches and neck aches.
If you don’t feel comfortable with a treadmill, then an excellent alternative is a recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes keep our muscles and joints active while boosting circulation – everything a treadmill can do.
However, it’s much more low impact on our joints and places you in a sitting position. As the seats are well-padded and come with ergonomic seatbacks, you can rest without risk of losing your balance.
If your core isn’t that strong yet, recumbent bikes can help, as you can choose to sit up occasionally, slowly building up your strength.
They also take up less room than treadmills, in case you live in a very limited space.
Yoga is also a wonderful activity for just about everybody. Yoga not only helps increase your strength, flexibility, and balance, it is also great for the mind and keeping stress down.
It can help with mindfulness, proper breathing, and so much more. Moreover, yoga is a very affordable activity.
Yoga mats can often be found for no more than $10, but you can also lay a thick blanket or towel on the carpet and use that.
If you can combine yoga and/or stretching with cardio activity, you’ll have covered just about everything.
Now that you’ve had the opportunity to read all about the best natural health tips and tricks for senior citizens, do you know where to start?
Even just incorporating one or two of these tips to start out is great.
Your body will get used to eating healthier and being more active, and over time, you’ll be able to try more and more of these tricks.
We hope that this article has helped you out and that you’re well on your way to a healthier lifestyle (or maintaining the one you have).
Thanks for joining us!