Seniors: Spring into healthy habitsWith spring in the air and Easter behind us, it’s time to shake off the winter blahs and get out and get moving.
By: Mary Krueger, Douglas County Senior Coordinator, Alexandria Echo Press
With spring in the air and Easter behind us, it’s time to shake off the winter blahs and get out and get moving.
While many older adults tend to slow down in winter, keeping active all year is the key to good health, especially for seniors.
Exercise has proven benefits – lower blood pressure and blood glucose; improved sleep and mood; less fatigue, joint pain and constipation; and better weight control.
These are all good reasons for older adults to keep moving, even in the colder months.
WHAT SENIORS CAN DO TO SPRING INTO SHAPE
Walk at the mall – it is climate controlled and has even surfaces. This is a great way to stay in shape.
• Take the stairs. Stair climbing exercises the same muscles necessary for keeping your balance while rising from a chair. Keep those muscles strong!
• Wear shoes with rubber grips to prevent falls in slick weather conditions.
• Drink water to stay hydrated.
• Warm up before and cool down and stretch after any exercise activity to lower risk of injury.
• Get an exercise buddy or join a club. The support is helpful for staying on track, even when you don’t feel like exercising.
• Make little changes that add up – park farther away at church or at store entrances and walk the extra distance. Every little bit helps.
• Exercise at home with a DVD or home workout video.
• Swim – check out the local YMCA.
• Try an aerobics or yoga class or find a dance class. Dancing improves flexibility and balance.
• Try gardening. Use a raised bed if you can.
• Do chair exercises during TV commercials or during your favorite program.
• Eat better while eating less. We need fewer calories as we age. Eat whole grains, lean protein, low-fat or non-fat dairy, healthy fats and lots of fruits and vegetables.
• Prevent overeating by keeping hunger in check. Eat well-balanced meals or snacks every four hours.
• Eat slowly to avoid overeating. Pace your meal over 20 to 30 minutes by taking small bites, paying attention to taste and texture of foods, setting down your fork or spoon, and sipping water between bites. This gives your stomach time to tell you when you are satisfied.
• Rethink your drink. High calorie beverages like juice, gourmet coffee and soft drinks add many unnecessary calories. Choose water, diet or low calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
April 23, 1 to 4 p.m. – Senior Housing Tour. Meet at Douglas County Public Works to board Rainbow Rider and tour Edgewood Vista, The Village Cooperative, Golden Ridge and Grand Arbor. There is a $5 charge for this class and you need to register through Alexandria Community Education.
May 7, 2 to 4 p.m. – Advance Directives and Long Term Care Insurance. Find out what you need to know. Douglas County Public Works meeting room.
May 14, 2 to 4 p.m. – Medicare – what’s new and what’s not. Douglas County Public Works meeting room.
For more information, contact Mary at (320) 762-3047