If you are going to reenter the working world or start your new business, you’ll want to know these healthy living tips for seniors. After all, you’ll be more successful with a fit body and a sharp mind.
So, I’m going to talk about what I personally do to stay healthy at age 65. I will admit, I sometimes fall off the wagon and don’t follow my own advice. No one is perfect. However, if you have a plan, it’s always easier to get going again.
Foods to avoid (or cut back on considerably)
There’s so much information on diet it’s enough to drive you crazy! And, so much of it is contradictory. However, I have learned what is best for me and you will likely do the same.
- Meat: I’m a vegetarian but I don’t expect you to become one. This is for the simple reason that meat eating seems to be embedded in our DNA. However, we eat way too much and that’s not healthy. My recommendation is to do whatever you can to reduce your intake of meat. Here’s the good news. There are delicious vegetarian substitutes available. So, keep a close eye out for these brands when visiting your supermarket:
- Beyond Meat (Their Chicken Strips are especially tasty).
- Yves – really good cold cuts.
- MorningStar Farms
- GardenBurger (many varieties – some especially tasty)
- Impossible Foods. I haven’t tried their products yet because they are not available here in Seattle. However, I’m very excited to do so. I hear that they have a hamburger patty that even the most ardent carnivore would think is meat!
Seattle is full of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. If you are living in or near a significant urban area, you can probably find them as well.
- Processed Sugar: There is no doubt about it. We are overdosing on sugar! It seems to be in just about everything. So, why do so many food manufacturers put it in their products. Because, it is cheap and ADDICTING!
As a smart consumer, it is your job to read labels very carefully to make sure there is only a small amount or no sugar at all in the product you’re purchasing. Also, it is good to know that food manufactures are sneaky. Thus, watch for diversions such as “cane juice.” It’s still sugar. Sugar causes all kinds of health problems like diabetes, obesity and cancer.
You may never be able to totally eliminate processed sugar, but you can definitely reduce your intake considerably.
- Processed Foods: You can find a ton of these in your frozen food aisle. What is so bad about them? They are generally stripped of nutrients and have too many added, unhealthy ingredients. Take a look at the label. Here’s a rule of thumb: The more ingredients listed on the packaging, the more additives there are and thus, the less healthy they are.
- Empty carbs: This is another thing we eat WAY TOO MUCH OF. You’ll find these in white bread, white rice, donuts, cookie and just about any prepackaged sweet item.
- Dairy: My advice, eat/drink as little as possible. If you stop and think about it, it’s really weird that humans are the only animal to drink the milk of other animals (no, your cat is actually not supposed to drink milk).
Foods to Eat
Vegetables: You heard it a million times while you were growing up, “eat your vegetables.” Well, there’s a great deal of wisdom in that statement. Admittedly, it’s hard to get enough. But, you can never eat too much! As far as I know, all veggies are good veggies but I always go for organic. And, as they say, go for the rainbow of colors – green, red, yellow, orange, etc.
My advice is eat as many as you can!
Fruit: Fruit is also a food group you should eat daily but probably not as much as veggies because of the sugar (although not the dreaded processed sugar as mentioned before!) Again, I always go for organic. Also, better to eat the whole fruit instead of drinking the juice. However, if juice is the only thing available, go for it (but don’t overdo it).
Whole grains: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa.
Nuts: I eat as much of these as I can get a hold of.
Beans: Again, I eat as much as I can get!
Soy: Not everyone can eat it but for a vegetarian like me, it’s great!
So, if I were to always eat in what I consider a ‘healthy way”, the above would be my diet. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me. Perhaps you can tweek things a bit to make it work for you.
Supplements: I don’t know a lot about them but I do recommend Emergen-C vitamin supplement to mix into water. It comes in several flavors and is loaded with vitamins!
To me, alcohol is a tricky subject. Mostly you hear about the benefits of alcohol used in moderation. I belong to this camp. It just so happens that I love beer. However, in my experience, any more than one drink a day can slow you down.
Of course, we all are aware of the disastrous results of drinking too much alcohol.
Here’s another of those tricky ones. You hear about the benefits of caffeine but in my experience you can definitely overdose. I try to keep it to a cup of drip coffer per day or no more than two shots of espresso. I drink it in the morning to give my brain a jumpstart!
I’m a big advocate for both cardio exercise and weight resistance. You can’t deny the benefits of exercises like running, swimming and tennis. They strengthen the heart and lungs. And, as you age, I feel it’s absolutely essential that you engage in some kind of weight training – even with light weights.
The older you get, the more muscle mass you loose and this leads to all kinds of problems like frailty. Weight training helps you maintain that essential muscle mass. But, I don’t believe you need to overdo it unless you are trying to become the senior body-building champion of the world!
Sleep requirements really seem to vary from person to person. I probably need more than most. Thus, I sleep nine hours a night as a general rule. In any case, sleep is absolutely essential for good health. As you know, getting older often equals more sleep difficulties.
One such problem is sleep apnea where you actually stop breathing and then choke or snort to start again. You should most definitely see a sleep specialist about this. Another is particular on to the male of the species – enlarged prostate. What does this mean for sleep? If you are a man over 50 you may already know that it causes at least one to several trips to the bathroom per night to urinate. And there is nothing that ruins a good sleep like frequent bathroom trips.
Sometimes, you just have to slow the mind down and get centered. Meditation helps with this. If you can find a quiet, calm spot even for a few minutes, sit down and clear the mind.
I like to say “ya gotta keep moving and that means both the body and the mind.” What good is a healthy body if your brain isn’t up to speed? There are so many ways you can keep your brain fit:
- Brain Teasers
- Board games
- Luminosity.com – check it out because it has wonderful exercises for the brain.
Personally, I do crossword puzzles, write and perform music (guitar and singing) draw and paint.
So, these are my healthy living tips for seniors – the Chris method. Remember, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks and you want to stay healthy as long as possible.
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