Fitness

Guest Contributor: Healthy Living Tips for Long-Lasting Vitality in Older Adulthood

Millennials are proving to be the most fit generation. We can only hope that our habits are rubbing off on our children, as well as our aging parents (That’s right-our parents are getting up there). Guest writer Jason Lewis imparts wisdom for the longevity of Baby Boomers and beyond.

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Have you ever heard of a super-ager? According to the Harvard Medical School, super-agers are seniors whose brains are similar to those of younger adults. Although there may be a genetic component that makes these brains more resilient to natural aging, researchers are confident that lifestyle factors play an extremely important role. If you want to enjoy the same vitality and longevity as these lucky individuals, it’s not too late to maintain — and even improve — your full-body health with some good habits.

For the opportunity to optimize your health in every way possible, take a look at your healthcare coverage and make sure it’s still meeting your needs. Medicare Advantage plans provide special coverage for things such as dental, hearing, vision, and wellness services that are not covered by basic Medicare. If you could use some additional coverage, learn more about healthcare plans offered by Aetna to understand how they can support your health goals.

Reevaluate Your Healthcare Coverage

Diversify Your Exercise Routine

One of the best ways to pursue good health is through exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, bringing with it oxygen and vital nutrients to maintain important cognitive functions. Regular exercise can even reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, depression, dementia, and certain cancers. Seniors should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week in sessions at least 10 minutes long. While the amount of time you spend exercising is important, so is the particular exercise you choose. Try to diversify your fitness sessions with these four key forms of exercise:

Diversify Your Exercise Routine

  • Strength training to prevent muscle loss
  • Endurance exercises for your heart, blood pressure, and mental health
  • Flexibility training to help you stay mobile and active
  • Balance practices for reducing your risk of falls

Golf is a wonderful source of low-impact physical activity that fulfills all of these four exercise groups. Even with a golf cart, you will likely still walk over two miles during an 18-hole course. Additionally, taking swings with a golf club challenges your strength, balance, and flexibility. Golf even has several cognitive benefits, as it requires careful decision-making and logical thinking. And who would pass up on an opportunity to get out in the fresh air and socialize? If you’re interested in trying out the sport, start with a quality set of clubs. Check out online buying guides, like this one from the Golf Warehouse, before making your first golf club purchase.

Never Stop Learning

Learning new things, such as how to play golf, is absolutely crucial for any senior who wants to maintain or strengthen their cognitive skills. Improvements to memory, decision-making, and critical thinking all come from challenging the brain in unfamiliar ways. Health.com recommends approaching learning like a curious child, focusing on broad learning rather than mastering highly specific skills. Similar to diversifying your exercise sessions, try to learn more than one thing at once — this will stretch your cognitive improvements across various areas of your brain and provide broad benefits that can carry over into your everyday life.

Socialize Every Chance You Get

If you’re looking for a new hobby or skill to pick up, try to find one you can do in a group. Social isolation in seniors has been linked to higher mortality rates and poorer mental health. On the other hand, seniors who regularly socialize tend to perform better on memory and cognitive skill tests. To enjoy more socialization in your life, sign up for a class in your community or join a local senior’s group. You may discover social hobby opportunities such as a gardening club, hiking group, or volunteer position community theatre.

You don’t have to be born with special genes to age like a superhero. All you need is the motivation to engage in healthy habits every single day. Exercise, try new things, meet people, eat clean, and welcome new challenges with an open mind. The resulting mental resilience and physical fitness will really help you squeeze the most out of your golden years.