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Top 10 Fitness and Nutrition Tips for Older Adults
By Peggy Buchanan
Today’s adults are living longer, healthier lives
due in part to better fitness and nutrition
programs. With the number of Americans 65+ expected
to reach 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2050,
exercise and diet are more important than ever.
These tips can help older adults enhance overall
wellness into their later years.
afternoon fatigue – Fatigue is a common problem
among older adults, especially after lunch. Having a
glass of water and a high-antioxidant food like a
prune can revitalize the body and stimulate the
from the neck up – Keeping the brain active and fit
is imperative to the health of older adults. Not
only does it stave off memory-loss illnesses like
Alzheimer’s and dementia, but it also fosters
executive function. Try word games and recall
exercises. For example, find five red objects during
a walk in the neighborhood and recall them when back
- Pole walk
– Walking poles allow for more balanced mobility
than walkers or canes. Walking with poles engages
the muscles of the upper torso, which increases
upper-body strength and cardiovascular endurance.
Consult a physician before making the switch to
- Dine in
duos – Those who share meals with others eat less
than those who eat alone. This is an easy
weight-loss tactic and one that fosters social
interaction and engagement. While this is easy for
those aging in community, older adults aging at home
can plan to have meals with family or friends at
least several times a week.
routine – Routine limits brain stimulation.
Introduce new foods or new ways of eating the same
food. For example, replace canned peaches with
freshly sliced ones. Also, try taking a different
route to the grocery store or shopping center.
Support – As people age, the fat pads on the bottom
of their feet compress, creating fatigue and pain.
Consider wearing supportive shoes or inserting foot
pads for better stability and comfort, wearing socks
that have extra padding, and using a wicking agent
to keep feet dry and comfortable.
- Fats: Out
with the bad, in with the good – Older adults with
an increased genetic risk for dementia can reduce
the risk by increasing the amount of Omega-3 fatty
acids in their diet. These fatty acids, found in
fish, nuts, olive oil and green leafy vegetables,
can reduce brain inflammation, a possible cause of
salt and increase your salsa – High blood pressure,
which can lead to strokes and a significant decline
in cognitive function, often increases with age. As
adults get older, the sense of taste also fades,
leading to a desire for more salt on food to enhance
flavor. Decreasing salt intake by putting down the
shaker – and increasing exercise habits by shaking
to a salsa beat – will enhance cardio and cognitive
act – In addition to exercises that build strength
and improve flexibility and cardiovascular
endurance, make sure to add balance activities to
the daily routine. Good balance requires maintaining
a center of gravity over the base of support. Tai
chi, yoga, walking on challenging surfaces and water
exercises all enhance overall balance.
- Dance like there’s no tomorrow
Older adults getting regular physical exercise are
60 percent less likely to get dementia. Exercise
increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein
that strengthens cells and neurons. Dance involves
all of the above plus the cerebral activity present
in learning and memory.