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Authored by: Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net

Regardless of your age, in order to live the most fulfilling life you can, it is important to be healthy in all senses of the word. However, many people taper down their exercise regimens, outside activities or hobbies, and healthy eating as they age. Ironically, those exact practices — exercise, hobbies, community, and nutrition — are key to remaining youthful in one’s attitude and abilities. Here is a variety of information on the best habits seniors can pursue to improve every facet of their health while reducing stress and anxiety.

Pay Attention to Your Medicare Plan

If you experience constant stress, it can be difficult for you to be truly healthy. One of the main causes of stress for seniors is anxiety about their future. Medicare changes every year, and it is important for seniors to stay up to date on the enrollment process and available plans. As you begin your new journey toward a healthier lifestyle, start by learning about Medicare and Medicare Advantage, what they cover, which plans are available in your state, and what supplemental plans you need to cover extra medical needs like prescription drugs.

Start Exercising Regularly

Once you have planned for your future healthcare needs, you can focus on keeping your body healthier overall. Going without exercise is one of the main causes of disease. Exercise has many benefits beyond building strength — it helps support your cardiovascular system, the health of your heart, and cognitive functions. You’ll get the most out of your workout routine if you focus on an aerobic program for 30 minutes to an hour each day. While the most common aerobic exercise is running or jogging, you may find a gentle, low impact aerobic exercise like swimming or biking to be easier on your joints.

Stretch Each Morning to Increase Flexibility

Most seniors will benefit from a daily stretching and balance routine. Before working out at home, stretch for 15 minutes to loosen up your muscles and increase your flexibility. You may want to incorporate yoga poses into your routine that focus on gentle balance and flexibility.

Become Involved in Your Community

Exercise can also be a great way to become involved in your community. By joining an exercise class at your local recreation center or senior center, you will be able to work out each week while getting to know a new group of friends.  Social activity is critical for strong mental health — a network of supportive friends prevents loneliness, minimizes stress, and provides encouragement when you need it most.

Eat Nutritious Meals Every Day

Seniors of all abilities often forget to pay attention to what they eat, choosing the convenience of fast food and processed food over the nutritional value of a home-cooked meal. However, in order for you to get the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay physically and mentally fit, it is important that you frequently eat vegetable-centric meals without excessive amounts of sugar, salt, or oil. Soups and stews are a particularly good idea since they are often easy to make, tend to freeze well, and can be kept for months.

Get a Full Night’s Rest

Finally, sleep is a major factor in your mood and overall wellness the next day. While seniors do not require as much sleep as younger adults, you should still try to get six or seven hours of sleep every night. You can make it easier to fall asleep by turning off all the lights, keeping electronics out of your bedroom, and by making your bedroom cool and quiet.

To be a well-rounded, healthy individual, seniors need to make a deliberate effort to support their health. Stretching and exercising can increase flexibility and cardiovascular health, community involvement can support mental health, and eating and sleeping well can boost your overall wellness. It’s short: It’s all about taking proper care of yourself.