Spring always signals a fresh start, and maybe that’s something you need for your own health when looking to stay healthy for Spring. After all, our collective health in the U.S. have taken a nosedive during the pandemic. We’re drinking more, stress eating more, and worrying a lot more. Whether your health has taken a toll for the worse due to world events or you just want to make positive health changes for a better future, the spring is an ideal time to get started.
If you’re an older adult, you have all the more reason to restart your health for better quality of life. Here are ways you can restart and get healthy–and stay healthy–this spring.
1. Take a Minute to Think About Your Health Habits
Be honest as you ask yourself a few questions. These questions can help you identify where you need to improve and focus for a health reboot as you look to stay healthy for Spring:
- Do I eat healthy most of the time?
- Do I smoke?
- Do I get enough physical activity?
- Do I sleep 7 to 8 hours a night?
- Do I drink enough fluids, especially water, throughout the day?
2. Make Good Sleep a Priority
Adults age 65 and older need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, sleep problems are common as we get older, thanks (or no thanks) to sleep disorders, nighttime bathroom trips, health conditions, and medications that may affect our slumber. If sleep is a challenge for you, you’re not alone–but it’s something you should try to improve. Set up a pre-bedtime relaxing routine, learn deep breathing, and move electronics away from the bedside. If you still have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. There may be easy changes that can transform your sleep. For instance, your doctor may be able to switch a medication that affects your sleep to one that doesn’t.
3. Get rid of the Cigarettes
We’ve all heard countless times about the dangers of smoking. Still, if you’re a smoker, it’s just hard to quit. In fact, most smokers try to quit five to fifteen times on average before it’s actually successful. If you’re an older adult, you may think, “Why should I quit smoking now? I’ve made it this far.” But why not give it a shot right now as you clean up your body and stay healthy for Spring?
Well, there could be health problems that crop up soon, like heart disease or certain types of cancer. Plus, when you quit smoking, your body starts to transform almost right away. In just 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal. Circulation and lung function get better within just two weeks of quitting, the American Heart Association reports. If you need help quitting, visit SmokeFree.gov. The site offers various resources to help smokers and may even be able to offer you free nicotine replacement therapy, which can help you quit for good.
4. Make a Commitment to Move More
Now here are some good reasons to be more physically active as you look to stay healthy for Spring. When you exercise regularly, you reduce your chances for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some types of cancer. You also improve your quality of life as an older adult, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, and can also improve your balance and posture. Put simply, the current federal guidelines advise us to work in physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. There are many ways you can meet that goal, from walking, biking, dancing, swimming or water aerobics. If you have mobility limitations, talk to your doctor about other options, including chair-based exercises that still provide benefits.
5. Work In More Protein
Our muscles become weaker with age, with the most notable decrease beginning around age 50. You may not care if you can lift the heaviest weights at the gym, but you probably want to be able to lift boxes around the house or pick up a grandchild with no problems. That’s why maintaining your muscle strength is important. One way to help do this as you look to stay healthy for Spring, in addition to strength-focused exercise, is to eat more protein. Protein is a building block to help your muscles. An easy rule of thumb is to aim for 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal. Some protein sources that can help provide this: five ounces of tuna, a medium chicken breast, two cups of rice and beans, or a cup of cottage cheese, according to an AARP article. Beans and nuts also are great protein sources.
6. Stay Hydrated and Stay Healthy for Spring
Dehydration can make you feel fatigued, worsen constipation, and increase your risk for bladder or kidney problems. Being out in the sun for a long time, having a fever, and illnesses such as stomach flu all can raise your risk for dehydration. Most adults need 66 to 99 ounces of fluid a day, best consumed as water, although fluid from soups, smoothies, and other beverages (not alcohol) count. One easy way to check and make sure you’re getting enough fluid is to look at your urine. A pale yellow color means you’re getting enough. Darker yellow indicates you need more hydration. Set a timer or place written notes where you can see them to remind you to drink more water.
The sun is beginning to warm this time of year, so hydration is important as you look to stay healthy for Spring.
7. Aim for a More Colorful Plate
We don’t mean the actual plate you eat from, we mean the combination of foods on your plate. Nature is so brilliant, it naturally makes foods that are high in antioxidants more colorful, with colors such as blue, yellow, and red, according to AARP. So, items you may want to include on your shopping list? Blueberries, bell peppers, beets, carrots, and tomatoes, among many of the deletable, healthy choices. If you want to stay healthy for Spring, use the abundance that Spring provides!