Healthy living is a great aspiration, but when you think about it, what does healthy living actually mean? It means different things to different people, and it changes as we age. Your doctor may suggest physical fitness or a particular diet, but the ultimate goal is more than just hitting the right number on a lab test. True healthy living comes down to what you can do to feel your best and make the most of life. Here are some rules you need to know.

Rule # 1 — Don’t Do It All On Your Own

You may not think much about living on your own or the consequences of lacking community. However, loneliness and isolation are two of the greatest health risks to seniors, which is why preventing this problem is rule number one for healthy living. Hopefully, you already have a support system you can lean on for help. If you do, don’t simply wait until you see them next! The Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical system recommends building those relationships by getting together with friends and family members on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that we also need relationships, and the help of others, for more than just our mental health. As hard as it may be, seniors should try to be aware of when things start to get harder in everyday life. If you’re struggling with maintaining your house, or you can’t see as well to drive, look for ways you can get help, either from someone you know or by hiring help. 

Getting help at home can solve some issues, but it may not be a long-term solution for all seniors. That’s why it’s a good idea to think about assisted living, especially if you still have a hard time caring for yourself. The great thing for seniors today is that online search tools make it easier than ever to explore your options. In the Houston area, the average cost for assisted living can be anywhere from $1,850 to $80,370 per month. This is obviously a big difference in price, but that means there are also a lot of options to choose from. A quick search will help you get an idea of what different facilities offer and what features meet your needs.

Rule # 2 — Get a Move On!

There’s no denying that our bodies change as we get older, but regardless of age, exercise remains the best way to fight off health problems and feel your best. The secret to success for being more active? It’s to find an activity you’ll actually do! For some seniors, that means joining a gym or finding exercise classes at a local senior center. As an added bonus, this is a great way to meet other people and get to know your community. If you aren’t the type of person who gets excited about going to the gym, don’t think that means you aren’t cut out for fitness! Simple activities such as walking are just as beneficial as going to a fitness center. Or, you could explore hobbies that are active, such as swimming, gardening, dancing, or yoga.

Rule # 3 — Eat Well for Increased Energy

Just like exercising improves your health in many different ways, eating nutritious foods is almost like medicine for what ails you. Foods that are nutrient-dense give your body the energy you need, whereas foods full of sugar and fat can zap your energy and leave you feeling sluggish. An easy way to start eating better is to make small swaps gradually. For example, the blog Family Doctor from the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests trying fresh fruit instead of juice, or low-fat popcorn instead of chips when you want a salty snack.

Making drastic changes is never easy, especially when you’ve had the same habits for years. The good news is that you don’t have to make drastic changes to start living healthier. Start by incorporating one goal from each of these “rules” at a time. As you build up to more healthy habits, you’ll feel the change and will want to keep going!

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