It's easy to get sidetracked when it comes to staying healthy. After all, we have important things to do throughout the day. Sometimes, the hardest part of maintaining a healthy routine is just being consistent. Try out these 20 health-boosting tips to give you a jump start, and stay on the road to a healthy you — mind, body, and spirit!
1. Keep an eye on eye care
Vision problems can obscure your quality of life. So be proactive and get an eye exam each year to check your eye health, even if you don't notice any changes in your vision. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, routine vision care may be covered. Check your plan to learn about your specific vision coverage.
2. Quench your thirst
Drink plenty of water. As you get older, it's important to drink close to 64 ounces of water a day to keep your body hydrated. (Just keep an eye out for the closest bathroom.)
3. Get your sleep
Tired but can't sleep? Try winding down at night with a bath or soft music. And cut the TV about an hour before bed, even if watching that next episode is tempting. Then lie down in a dark, quiet room, and let your body do the rest.
4. Train your brain
Doing puzzles and playing games regularly can keep your mind stimulated, and an active mind is part of a healthy body. You can think of these activities as fun ways to exercise your brain.
5. Chat it up
Spending time with the people you love can boost your energy. Whether it's exercising with a neighbor or having lunch with an old friend, planning some social time is a healthy addition to your day. If getting out of the house isn't convenient, pick up the phone for a friendly chat!
6. Meditate the stress away
Stress can come from many sources: illness, disability, loss, financial hardship — the list goes on. But following a simple meditation program can clear your mind of these worries. Whether it's through yoga, a program you find online, or something you just do on your own, meditation is a great way to de-stress and relax.
7. Eat fresh
Did you know fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve arthritis symptoms? Add cherries, berries, broccoli, and brussels sprouts to your daily diet. They contain a compound that helps reduce inflammation.
8. Build your bones
Milk builds strong bones at any age. That's because milk, and other dairy products, are rich in calcium. And if you have a lot of vitamin D in your diet, you absorb that calcium faster.
9. Hit the gym
As you age, you can lose up to 15 percent of your lean muscle mass. That leads to a lower metabolic rate. But when you maintain muscle strength, it helps burn calories to keep you at a healthy weight. So dust off your sweatbands, lace up your gym shoes, and make your way to the weight room. Many Medicare Advantage plans include fitness memberships at no extra cost through programs like SilverSneakers®, too. You can check your plan to see what's offered.
10. Write down your goals
Research suggests that leads to accomplishing them. Why? Experts believe that writing pushes you to get real about what you want to accomplish and how you'll get there. Keep a journal to track and maintain your health goals easier.
11. Give back and feel good
Volunteering has great benefits as you age. In fact, older volunteers show compared to others in their age group. When you give back to your community, you feel valued and stay healthy longer. Plus, it's a great way to stay social.
12. Push down on pressure
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol, can lower your blood pressure. While it can be challenging to change your eating habits, keeping a food diary and tracking labels when you food shop makes eating healthier easier.
13. Fan the flame
Don't let age limit your sexual enjoyment. Learn about physical changes that come with sex at an older age and work together with your partner to overcome them. You'll probably be happy you did.
14. Look at you go
Exercise cuts stress and helps manage blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Try getting at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise five days a week.
15. Add fiber to your diet
It can help you manage your weight and improve your heart health. And it's tastier than it might sound. You can increase the amount of fiber in your diet by simply eating whole grain cereals and pancakes, dried fruits, and nuts.
16. Feel the emotions
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, and life's challenges can sometimes seem overwhelming. But take a step back and observe why you are feeling overwhelmed. Try making a list of things you can do to make stress more manageable. Remember: just take it step by step, and at your own pace.
17. Pump up the music
Music is a powerful motivator during exercise. You get the rare chance to focus on something other than how hard you're working. And that's a welcome change. With music, your brain takes longer to realize your body is tired. This allows you to work out longer and harder without feeling like you're putting in extra effort.
18. Enjoy the outdoors
Summer weather is great for relaxing with family and friends. So make sure you're prepared to enjoy the heat with them. Apply ample sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids so you don't dehydrate. Also be sure to check your medications, since some may increase your sensitivity to the sun. In cooler weather, be sure to wear enough layers of clothing to keep you warm. And if the temperature reaches below freezing, it's best to limit your time outdoors so you don't catch a cold.
19. Get connected
There's no time like the present to network. If you're comfortable with a computer or smartphone, take advantage of online social networks to keep in touch with loved ones and make new friends.
20. Safeguard your home
Did you know that people who walk barefoot fall more frequently? You can prevent falls and injury by removing loose carpet or throw rugs. Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter. Using night-lights in hallways and bathrooms helps, too.
Amy Capomaccio is a health care writer at Aetna with experience in senior wellness, Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health care. When she's not practicing new mindfulness techniques, Amy is spending time outdoors and traveling. Amy hails from Wakefield, MA and has a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of Tampa.