The new year presents a unique opportunity to start fresh and begin making much-needed changes that improve your mental and physical health. Whether you want to focus on enhancing your physical fitness or feel that you should make more of an effort to engage in social activities, 2016 is the time to make it happen. Here are a few ideas that you may want to consider adding to your list of New Year's resolutions.
1. Reestablish old connections
Unfortunately, it can be easy to lose contact with friends and family members who live far away. If you have a loved one in mind who you know you could do better at reaching out to, make 2016 the year that you make an effort to reestablish this connection. Thanks to social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, it's easy to share pictures and messages with people from all corners of the world. Simply sending out an update noting how you're doing and what's going on in your life can be all it takes to restore a special relationship with a friend. There are also smartphone applications like Viber that enable you to call people for free regardless of where they live. Scheduling a Skype session is also a fun way to see someone face-to-face as you catch up.
"Slowly introduce healthy foods to your diet."
2. Take baby steps toward eating right
Probably one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, switching up your diet so that it consists of nutritious foods is essential. Remember that eating right doesn't necessarily have to mean that you completely cut a certain food from your diet or drastically change all of your regular meals. Slowly introducing more fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to your daily meals will improve your health without requiring you to make any significant alterations to your diet. If you find it difficult to eat your greens, consider whipping up a smoothie with sweet fruit like berries and bananas on top of greens, such as spinach and kale. The fruit will mask the taste of the veggies, creating a tasty way to consume the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
3. Give yourself a break
Having a weekly schedule consisting of exercise classes, social gatherings and meetings for clubs, such as knitting or reading groups, is key to maintaining physical and mental health. However, it's essential to allow yourself a break to enjoy the simple things in life. This could mean taking a day off to visit loved ones or reserving time to yourself in the mornings to relax with your cup of coffee. Your chances of sticking to your resolutions will also increase if you allow yourself time to unwind when needed.
4. Work out your body and brain
While it is important to get in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, don't forget that keeping your brain active is equally essential. What does working out your brain entail? According to HealthinAging.org, challenging yourself to a daily puzzle or card game will contribute to healthier brain function and help to reduce your risk of developing dementia symptoms down the road.
Many seniors are also returning to school to continue their education. If you aren't interested in a class that earns you college credits but have a certain subject or topic you want to learn more about, join a program at your local community college. Many universities have free courses that you can take for fun. Some even have classes designed specifically for adults 65 years or older.
5. Work to prevent falls
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that each year, millions of older adults fall, and once people fall, their chance of experiencing another incident doubles. Of those who fall each year, more than 700,000 are hospitalized for serious medical problems, such as head injuries or hip fractures. It's crucial that you do all that you can to reduce your risk of falling. Remember that even if you don't think it could happen to you, everyone is at risk of falling.
Staying fit by exercising regularly will improve your balance and strength. Setting up mats and railings in slippery areas like the bathroom will help you avoid tripping or slipping as well. It's important to see your doctor regularly to check on everything from your sight to your hearing. In the wintertime, try to avoid going outside when it's icy or snowing. If you have to venture outdoors during or after inclement weather, ask for assistance from a neighbor, friend or family member to make sure you have the support and balance to stop you from slipping.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living