The Magic Trio of Health: Exercise, Sleep and Eating Healthy
Staying healthy and feeling your best is important regardless of age. For those over 50, they may fear it is too late to start a new routine. However, this could not be further from the truth. These healthy eating, exercise and sleep tips can help you maintain your physical and mental wellbeing and live life to the fullest, whatever your age or circumstances.
Healthy Eating for Over 50s
Eating a well-balanced diet is an essential part of staying healthy as you get older. It can help to maintain a healthy weight, stay active and energized, and even prolong your life. The risk of developing chronic health
conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis can be lowered by healthy eating. To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, it’s important to eat a balanced diet. This means including foods from each of the five major food groups:
- Grains (breads, cereals, rice, pasta, oats).
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes/ beans.
- Dairy (for example milk, yoghurt and cheese).
Try to eat fresh, whole foods and stay away from processed products and artificial ingredients. While it’s important to eat certain foods, it’s just as important to avoid other foods. In the long run, it will be worth making the sacrifice to avoid certain foods. Foods to avoid include those with a high salt or sugar content, as well as alcohol, caffeine and foods with empty calories. It will be worth it in the long run.
Benefits of Exercise
An active lifestyle is more important than ever for your health as you grow older. Routine physical activity helps to improve physical and mental health. Both of these aspects can help maintain your independence as you age.
Exercising can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and high blood pressure. The benefits of exercise do not have to involve exhausting workouts or trips to the gym. You can gain these advantages by adding more movement and activity into your life, even in small ways. Take a walk with a friend, go swimming, join a yoga class or take the time to explore new places. For instance, you can walk around museums, the beach and shopping centres to help to create a healthy and active lifestyle.
Ageing and Sleep
As we grow older, a good night’s sleep is essential to your physical and mental health. It can improve the quality of your waking life. Equally, insufficient sleep can cause problems with attention, memory, and other cognitive functions. Prolonged insufficient sleep is associated with poorer physical and mental health that can increase the risk of many health conditions common in seniors.
While some sleep changes experienced with age are beyond control, there are small lifestyle changes that can be made to maximise sleep:
- Set a bedtime routine. You can improve your sleep routine by setting a definitive time to retire every night. As you become accustomed to the routine, you will notice a difference in your ability to go to sleep restfully.
- Create an environment for sleep. Avoid using electronics (i.e. computers, iPads, mobile phones) in the bedroom or in the couple of hours before going to sleep.
- Reduce your stress. If you have too much on your mind when you’re going to bed, you’re not going to have a good night’s sleep. Prioritise what’s most important and delegate if you need to in order to help clear your mind.
Although these are all great healthy eating, exercise and sleep tips, everybody’s circumstances are different. We recommend that you have a discussion with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise regimen, changing your diet, or if you continue to have problems with your sleep.