Once an individual reaches his or her mid-fifties, it seems like all types of things start happening to the body, and most of them are bothersome. Aches, pains, digestive problems, and an assortment of other ailments decide to make their presence known, seemingly showing up here and there at whim. There are stretches of time when every day is a new adventure in discomfort.
During your 55+ years, when it feels like your own body is slowly falling apart with you in it, what can you do to feel better and stay as fit and healthy as possible?
Eat Right, Eat Less
Healthy eating for the aging adult is crucial. Very few elderly adults are able to eat the same things in the same manner as they did when they were younger. As the body ages, its degree of tolerance changes. All of a sudden, food items that never bothered you before become disagreeable to your entire system. After a lengthy period of denial and repeated suffering, you finally surrender to the fact that there are certain things that you simply can no longer eat without paying a physical price that isn’t worth it.
Even if you’ve never eaten healthy in your entire life, once you hit middle age, it’s time to start. Food items rich in protein, calcium and fiber are essential. Fruits, vegetables, and wheat pastas are good choices. A balanced diet is key in order for the body to continue functioning properly. Your primary physician can help you determine the best eating plan for your physical condition and lifestyle.
Eating less at each meal is also important. Since an individual’s digestive process tends to slow down after a certain age, it becomes more difficult for the digestive tract to process large amounts of foods as efficiently as it used to. As the body struggles to keep pace with the excessive amount of food, problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome often result.
Exercise, Stay Physically Active
For many elderly adults, ‘exercise’ is a dirty word. However, it is extremely important that an aging adult stay active. Doing so is essential for maintaining an individual’s circulatory and digestive systems and sustaining his or her mobility during the aging process. Staying active reduces the risk of muscle tightness, circulation problems, arthritis and rheumatism. There are many low impact exercise programs designed specifically for older adults. Even a brisk walk each day is beneficial for keeping the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
Stay Mentally Active, Stimulate the Brain
Keeping the mind alert and busy is critical to remaining physically fit during the golden years. Boredom and lack of interest in life can have a negative psychosomatic affect on the body. Social interaction, hobbies, puzzles, and reading are just a few ways to keep thought processes functional and flowing.
Get Enough Rest While it is critical for the older adult to stay physically active, it is just as important that he or she get enough rest. ‘Early to bed and early to rise’ is not bad advice. Proper rest is necessary to refuel the body’s resources and replenish its energy at any age.
The physical changes that accompany aging are inevitable. However, their negative effect can be kept to a minimum with proper diet, daily exercise, mental activity, and enough rest. With the right attitude and a little effort, life after fifty-five can be as enriching and enjoyable as it was during those younger years.
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