Most people go through life with a sense of independence and easily providing self-care, so the thought of losing that ability can be stressful and frightening. But there are ways to maintain independence to keep you happy and healthy. Try these secrets no matter what season of life you’re in.

5 Secrets to Better Senior Health 600

  1. Keep Moving

    Mobility has a huge effect on how the body ages, and one of the best ways to maintain independence is through exercise and movement. Different types of exercise affect your body in different ways. For example, higher intensity intervals and cardio exercise impact your sympathetic system, often called the “fight or flight” response, and it extends from the brain out to the body to help you perform harder physical tasks. The opposite is the parasympathetic system, where the nerve fibers go from the body to the brain. Stimulating that system has many benefits to mental and emotional health. No matter which approach you take, movement is the key, and it’s best to make it a routine.

  2. Stay Hydrated

    Mild chronic dehydration negatively impacts your health in many ways, from being linked to  headaches, depression, fatigue and concentration problems, to increasing bacteria in your mouth due to lack of saliva. The harm may not seem immediate, similar to smoking in your 20s. But the consequences when you don’t drink enough fluids are serious. Strive to reach the guidelines of fluid consumption – 91 ounces per day for women and 125 ounces per day for men.

  3. Set Goals to Develop a Sense of Purpose

    Setting goals can give help you stay motivated and focused, creating a meaning and purpose in life. Start by making a list of things you want to achieve for the month, and then break the tasks into weeks or days to determine a realistic timeline of when you can accomplish them. Goals can be small, like household jobs, or have a larger commitment, like those with community involvement or volunteering.

  4. Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

    There is nothing more important to your independence than being able to stay on top of hygiene -- dressing, bathing and cleaning. Even if it takes a little longer than it used to, personal maintenance can contribute to your sense of purpose, but most importantly, can help prevent infections, skin problems or gum disease.

  5. Maintain a Social Life

As people age, it’s easy to become isolated. But it’s important to be aware of your relationships, because being alone more often than you’re used to can lead to loneliness or depression, and both have negative physical health impacts. Reach out to family or neighbors and plan to see them regularly or have a standing phone call to stay connected. These days, social media makes it easy to connect with people you may have lost touch with or who don’t live near you.

If you are interested in receiving more healthy aging tips like this, sign up for our newsletter. What are some ways that you use to stay feeling healthy? Let us know in the comments below.

By Maddie Kuehn