If your goal for 2019 is to become healthier, consider making one change for every month of the year. When you choose options that are easy and enjoyable, you’ll likely have more success. Consider these 12 tips for 12 healthy months. (Just make sure your primary care physician agrees with and supports your goals.)
January: Drink more water.
Different people need different amounts of water, but generally most people are advised to drink 6 to 8 glasses per day. Water provides a large number of health benefits for seniors, including giving your eyes and skin the moisture they need, as well as lubricating your joints.
February: Give your heart a hand.
In recognition of American Heart Month, make an effort to take care of your heart health. There are many things you can do easily, including reducing saturated fat intake and avoiding sitting for long periods of time. Other ways to improve your heart health include eating fruits and vegetables daily, getting the appropriate amount of sleep, quitting smoking, and practicing meditation to reduce stress.
March: Add a rainbow of color to your diet.
March is National Nutrition Month, and one of the easiest ways to increase healthy nutrients in your diet is to eat fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors, such as blood oranges, blackberries, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, and green, leafy vegetables.
April: Get better sleep.
Different people need different amounts of sleep, but generally most people are advised to get seven to nine hours per night. A full, restful night of sleep has been shown to improve your heart health, enable you to concentrate better during the day, and help you maintain a healthy body weight.
May: Exercise more often.
Discover which forms of exercise you like best, and plan to do one or more of them every day. During this month, simply walking outdoors might be just what you need. For something easy on the joints, consider swimming at the senior living community or the local gym. Another option is participating in yoga, which can stretch and strengthen muscles while improving balance.
June: Protect your eyes and skin from the sun.
Whether you’re outdoors working in the garden, heading out for a picnic with your family, or simply relaxing on your patio, wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and sunglasses that provide both UVA and UVB protection.
Also protect yourself from sunburns and heat exhaustion in general by staying hydrated, wearing a hat with a brim when you’re outdoors, and seeking shade whenever possible.
July: Remember to socialize.
Research shows that maintaining quality relationships is helpful for people of all ages. Meeting with friends, attending a Fourth of July parade, joining a club, or participating in social events at your senior living community can work wonders for your mental and physical health.
August: Add more herbs, healthy spices, and superfoods into your diet.
If you do the cooking at home, consider adding spices like cinnamon and turmeric into your recipes. You can also work to incorporate antioxidants like blueberries into your diet, as well as prepare Omega-3 rich foods such as fish more often.
Tip: Stop at your local farmer’s market to buy those fresh herbs and spices. It’s a fun day trip, and you’ll also support the local community and its residents.
September: Give your mind a workout.
Regular brain exercises can keep us sharper. Fortunately, most are simple and enjoyable. Consider starting a journal, taking a painting class, downloading fun brain quizzes on your phone, learning to play a musical instrument, or occasionally using your non-dominant hand to complete daily tasks.
October: Take advantage of the pumpkin while it lasts.
Pumpkins are believed to provide many health benefits, so incorporate them into some of your meals. The potassium can have a positive effect on blood pressure, and the antioxidants can help prevent degenerative damage to the eyes. Additionally, they are high in beta-carotene, which may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease, prevent diabetes, increase energy, and promote a healthy complexion.
November: Practice mindfulness daily.
In addition to exercising your mind, you also can train it to relax, especially during this stressful time of the year. Focusing on the present allows us to release the tension in our bodies and the stressors on our mind, even if it’s just for the moment. As you write in your journal, for example, make a conscious effort to feel the pen in your hand and listen to the sounds it makes on paper. Doing so on a regular basis can help you embrace life more fully and relieve anxiety.
December: Give your immune system a boost.
This is the time of the year when people bundle up indoors, where they can catch others’ germs. Later, they head out for holiday shopping and parties, where those germs are spread to others. Make efforts to help your immune system fight off the cold and flu by getting enough sleep, frequently washing your hands, and consuming plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables.
If you live in one of our senior living communities in North Carolina, Virginia, or Michigan, we can provide you with many resources that can help you meet your goals, including effective fitness programs, motivational social events, and healthy, gourmet-style meals. To learn more, visit our Waltonwood website.