Are you ready to take charge of your health so you can enjoy your senior years instead of dealing with ongoing health issues? It might feel like it’s too late to change your health for the better, but there’s plenty of research that shows you can improve your physical and mental well-being no matter your age.
If you’re prepared to get serious about your health, try these seven tools for help meeting your wellness goals.
1. A good health insurance plan
The importance of comprehensive health insurance for seniors can’t be overstated. When you have a good health plan, you’re more likely to keep up with doctor’s visits and preventive care. Most seniors find that Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t offer enough coverage. Not only does Original Medicare have high copays that discourage you from seeing the doctor
Medicare Advantage plans are a popular way to get this extra coverage, because Medicare Advantage bundles all your health insurance into one plan so you’re not managing a bunch of standalone policies. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, take a look at plans like Aetna’s to learn more.
2. A home gym
Visiting the doctor is important, but what you do outside of the doctor’s office has an even bigger impact on your health. Exercise is one thing that can make or break your health after 60. If you’re not getting the recommended physical activity, expect more problems with your heart, lungs, and mobility as you age.
Many seniors don’t feel comfortable hitting the gym. If you prefer privacy when you work out, make a gym at home. A home gym doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. With a little bit of space and basic equipment like an exercise mat and resistance bands, you can easily meet your exercise needs.
3. A balance board
There’s one more piece of equipment to include in your home gym: a balance board. Balance boards are a key tool for improving balance and core strength, two things you need to prevent falls. Even if you feel steady on your feet today, it’s important to train for balance so you stay stable and sure-footed as you get into your 70s, 80s, and beyond.
4. A fitness tracker
Your daily workout is important, but it’s not everything. You also need to move throughout the day and avoid long periods of sitting. A lot of people overestimate their physical activity, but a fitness tracker keeps you honest. Fitness trackers monitor metrics like daily steps and heart rate and remind you to keep moving throughout the day so you avoid the perils of a sedentary lifestyle.
5. A reusable water bottle
There’s a sneaky aging problem no one talks about: As you get older, it’s harder to tell when you’re thirsty. Dehydration causes all sorts of problems, like brain fog, dry mouth, and achy joints. To counteract it, you need to drink water throughout the day, whether you feel thirsty or not. Carrying a reusable water bottle is one great way to drink more water. Find more tips for upping your water intake here.
6. A meditation app
We’ve talked about your physical health, but what about your mental health? Seniors experience depression at lower rates than younger adults, but more than one in five seniors still faces a mental health problem. Chronic illnesses, the death of loved ones, and your changing role in society all make it difficult to keep a positive outlook as you age.
Meditation is an amazing tool for senior mental health. Meditation helps you take those challenges in stride and accept difficult emotions without letting them overwhelm you. If you want to give it a try, use a meditation app to get started.
7. A social hobby
This isn’t a tool per se, but it is incredibly important for your physical and mental health. Seniors who are socially engaged rank higher on nearly every health measure. Social seniors have better heart health, cognitive health, and mental health than their socially-isolated peers.
Without the guaranteed social interaction of a job and kids, older adults have to make a focused effort to stay social. Picking up a social hobby is one of the best ways to do that. Not only does a social hobby like a team sport or crafting club help you meet like-minded adults, it also keeps you mentally challenged as you age.
Were you expecting a list of high-tech gadgets and superfoods? While some innovations can be really beneficial for senior health, especially tech like fitness trackers and apps that keep you accountable, no gadget can transform your health for you. If you really want better health after 60, the most important thing you can do is to adopt good habits and stay active physically, mentally, and socially.
About the author:
A personal trainer by day, Jason Lewis created Strongwell.org to share his fitness knowledge with seniors wanting to stay fit and healthy.