Healthy Aging During Retirement: Nutrition, Exercise, and Lifestyle Changes

People these days are living longer and longer, which is why we’re seeing such a focus on healthy aging. In order to help keep medical costs as low as possible and remain active in their retirement years, seniors these days are seeking out avenues for maintaining a high quality of life for as long as possible. 

“A long life doesn’t always equal a high quality of life, which is why taking proactive steps to control your health is so important as you age,” says Angel Van Horn, Community Relations Specialist at Park Manor,the most trusted retirement community in Nashville, TN. “As the Baby Boomers continue to reach retirement age and start to experience senior-related health issues, preventative measures will become more and more important.”

For some individuals, healthy aging can require a complete overhaul of their lives, including exercise, nutrition and lifestyle changes. While that may sound daunting, have heart – the good news is that it’s never too late to begin living a healthy lifestyle. 

“Even little steps in the right direction can be the foundation upon which you can improve your health,” says Angel. “As medical advances and scientific research become even more sophisticated, seniors these days have a wealth of opportunities for them to live their best lives ever. Through a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, medical care and more, it’s easier than ever to live well even into old age.” 

What Changes Occur As We Get Older?

Even younger people can have a poor health-related quality of life due to lack of exercise and poor diet. As we age, our bodies are less able to combat the difficulty that comes from an unhealthy lifestyle, which leads to health complications. There are also non-physical changes that take place as we get older: the loss of loved ones, dwindling abilities, retiring from careers.

“Emotional health is just as important as physical health, and in order to create a healthy and balanced lifestyle, seniors need to make sure their wellness plan incorporates healthy habits across all needs – physical, emotional and mental,” says Angel. “At Park Manor Apartments, we know that wellness is a verb, not a noun, and provide opportunities for our residents to live the healthiest life possible through nutritious dining, simulating activities and full-body fitness.”

Stay Healthy Through Your Diet 

You are what you eat, and during your senior years, it’s essential to make sure you’re putting the right fuel into your body. However, some changes can happen during this time like loss of taste, a slower metabolism and a decreased sense of smell. All of these can add up to being lax on incorporating nutritious foods into our diets. You could also have difficulty grocery shopping or preparing food, or you simply don’t want to be bothered. We get it – you’ve earned a rest! Still, healthy eating doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are many ways you can incorporate good habits into your diet:

  • Speak to a family member or health provider about community programs designed to offer healthy eating options to senior adults
  • If you’re able to cook your own food, make sure you’re filling up on vegetables, fruits, fiber, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats. This mix will help you feel full and energetic while enabling your digestion to work as efficiently as possible. If you’re on a low-sodium or low-sugar diet, consider trying different herbs and spices to help give your dishes a little zing. 
  • Remember to drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Water helps you stay energized, lubricates your joints and muscles and helps your skin remain smooth (and looking young). 
  • Make mealtimes a social event. Invite family, friends or neighbors over to share a meal. This helps you stay socially active and encourages you to eat on a regular basis, even if you have a reduced appetite. 

By eating right, you will feel better, maintain a healthy weight and decrease your risk of developing chronic issues like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. 

Stay Healthy Through Exercise

A recent Swedish study found that exercise is the number one contributor to longevity. And the benefits can start practically instantly. According to a Houston geriatrician, Dr. Carmel Dyer, even patients who have started exercising in their 70s are able to reap great benefits! Here are just some of the ways regular physical activity helps aging adults:

  • Prevents memory loss and reduces the risk of developing dementia
  • Produces endorphins, which help boost mood and emotional health
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Increases muscle mass, which boosts metabolism
  • Helps seniors sleep more deeply
  • Improves posture, balance and flexibility
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Keeps you at a healthy weight 

If you don’t exercise much (or at all), start small. Even 10 minutes a day can help you feel better and get your blood flowing. As time goes on, add more and more time to your workouts and try out different forms of exercise. The important thing is to find something you enjoy – so go ahead and try something new!

Exercise isn’t just limited to your physical activity, however. It’s just as important to exercise your mind and keep your gray cells working and stimulated. Puzzles and memory games are great activities, but so are things like learning a new language, volunteering, picking up a new hobby or even spending time with friends and family. Challenging your brain on a daily basis keeps your mind supple, reduces the risk of cognitive decline and keeps you feeling young. 

Stay Healthy by Remaining Positive.

Let’s face it: getting older can be tough. There are two ways you can deal with this: by being pessimistic and dreading the future, or remaining positive and embracing the change that’s ahead. By accepting and letting go of the things you can’t control, and looking forward to the things you can, you’ll reduce your stress levels, improve your mood and give yourself an overall sense of well-being. 

Even though you’re getting older, you don’t have to sit back and let life pass you by. There are still plenty of ways for you to live a life of purpose, and you still have a lot to contribute to the world. Being retired can actually be a great chapter of life – you have time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, like start a charity, write your memoirs or even begin a new career. This is the time of your life – go out there and seize it!

Love Where You Live!

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Do I love where I live?” If you ask that question of the residents of Park Manor, Nashville’s premier retirement community, the answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” For over 50 years, Park Manor has served Nashville’s seniors by providing a community designed to support an active, independent, secure, healthy and worry-free lifestyle.  Located on seven spacious acres in the desirable Nashville neighborhood Belle Meade, we’re proud to provide a lifestyle our residents love each and every day. 

Park Manor’s approach to senior living is simple: exceed our residents’ expectations. We strive to provide everything you could possibly need and want to live your life the way you choose. At Park Manor, you will enjoy a standard of living reminiscent of a luxury resort – but it’s not a vacation – it’s your lifestyle! This commitment is why we are held in such high regard by our surrounding community and are known as thepremier retirement community offering Independent Living and Assisted Living lifestyles.

For seniors requiring memory care, Park Manor is associated with the prestigious Abe’s Garden® Memory Care Center of Excellence. Abe’s Garden® is committed to transforming the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by establishing a national model of residential living and day care programs for those suffering from the disease. Abe’s Garden® provides an unprecedented level of care in addition to a comprehensive array of services and lifestyle options. 

At Park Manor, your continued independence is our top priority. Enjoy living life as you choose ... in the comfort and privacy of your own apartment, while having the peace of mind of knowing help is available if and when you need it.

For more information, please call 615.277.1107.