By Jeanette M. Roe, Executive Director
The Senior Center is an important key to helping Seniors age well. As we celebrated National Senior Center Month, I reflect on the number of individuals who are using the Center’s services, enjoying the variety of activities, and socializing with others.
I found an article on webMD.com‘s that talked about scientific secrets to healthy aging. The second half of your life can bring some of your most rewarding decades. You may be more confident than your younger self. You gain wisdom & patience. Sure, your hair sprouts more grays and your face sports more lines. But you can grow older with your body & mind as healthy as they can possibly be. Here are some science-backed secrets to do just that.
Aim for 30 minutes every day. If that’ break it up into shorter strolls. Regular exercise especially if you do it briskly enough to feel a little breathless — delivers huge health benefits. It helps keep brain cells healthy by delivering more blood and oxygen. In fact, research suggests aerobic exercise may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Walking also helps:
- Control your weight
- Boost your mood
- Keep bones and muscles strong
- Helps you sleep better
- Makes you less likely to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, & high cholesterol
Loneliness is harmful to your health. If you feel lonely — whether you live alone or with someone, have lots of friends or none — you are more likely to get dementia or depression. Seniors who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks like bathing and climbing stairs. They also die earlier than less-lonely folks do. Researchers found that lonely people have higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, or swelling, linked to arthritis and diabetes. Another study found more antibodies to certain herpes viruses in lonely people, a sign of stress in their immune system. So stay connected or make friends. Do volunteer work or simply help someone in need. Just connect.
Life tests us in many ways. Loved ones die, layoffs happen, and health problems can mount. But positive thinking can be a powerful ally. When you choose to be optimistic and grateful, your mind and body respond in kind. People with a rosier outlook live longer and have fewer heart attacks and depression than more negative people. Positive emotions may even lower the virus counts in people with HIV. You can learn to be optimistic. It just takes time and practice.
Things you can do include:
- Smile, even fake smile. It can help lower stress
- Reframe. Spin your thoughts to the good things instead of dwelling on the bad
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Do good things for others
- Surround yourself with people who boost your spirits
- Accept things you can’t change.
Stick to Sleep
Insomnia is common in older adults. It’s when you have a harder time falling and staying asleep. It helps to wake and sleep on schedule every day. That can help keep your body clock in sync so you get the sleep you need.
Also try and:
- Keep your bedroom dark. Turn off your TV, cell phone, and laptop.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening.
- Don’t nap longer than 20 minutes during the day.
- Ask your doctor if any of your meds might be keeping you awake.
Source: WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on April 24, 2018.