New Habits for the New Year

Published: 22/05/2019

As we age, we have all seen innumerable fads for health and fitness come and go, and conflicting advice on what is good for our bodies, what is bad, how we should eat and balance our diets – but, all trends aside, there’s no doubt that it’s important to take care of ourselves.

As we age, we have all seen innumerable fads for health and fitness come and go, and conflicting advice on what is good for our bodies, what is bad, how we should eat and balance our diets – but, all trends aside, there’s no doubt that it’s important to take care of ourselves.

So how do we filter what is just a passing fashion from what will actually improve our wellbeing, and what should we be doing to look after ourselves as we age?

Keep it simple

Rather than getting caught up in worry and trying to add too many new focuses into our lifestyle, we just have to remember the things we have always enjoyed, try not to over indulge in the things we know aren’t great for our health and do more of the things we know are!

The all-important diet

A healthy, balanced diet includes plenty of fruit and vegetables and the energy we get from proteins and carbohydrates – and it’s important to keep eating healthily and limiting the fatty or sweet treats. If you’ve slipped into bad habits, there are lots of ways to eat more healthily. If you struggle to cook meals from scratch or find it hard to cook for just one, there are a lot of options for ready made meals which you can heat yourself or have delivered. This takes the hassle out of the process and means you won’t be as tempted to fill up on easy treats that you know aren’t doing your health much good.

Get plenty of rest

We all slow down when we get older and it can be frustrating not having as much energy as we used to – but it’s important for our health – physically and mentally – to get enough rest. Our bodies need more time to do the things we want, but it can also be harder to get a good, full night of sleep. Many elderly people find they wake more often in the night or rise very early. If that sounds familiar, try to give yourself chances to rest through the day – even if you don’t nap, sitting quietly with a book or our favourite show gives our bodies and minds chance to switch off and catch up on rest.

Keep moving

In between those rests, earn them by taking care of your body – get out and about and take walks, visit friends, keep fit as much as you can. Perhaps you don’t want to take a dance class or abseil down a mountain – and marathon running might be a little much, but our bodies will benefit from getting what exercise we can. Even in your own home there are opportunities for being more active, walking on the spot as the kettle boils, doing gentle weight exercises to maintain strength, and getting some gardening done keeps us limber (though getting back up weeding the borders doesn’t get any easier!)

What to avoid

We don’t want to nag, and we all know what is bad for us – even if it’s something we have always enjoyed. Try to limit the amount of caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods that you consume. The damage these do to our bodies increase the chances of some nasty illnesses and general wear and tear slows down our recovery from any injuries and illnesses we do pick up; give yourself the best chance by treating your body well. It’s never too late to break a bad habit – and even if you’ve always smoked, cutting down or stopping now will improve your health and significantly reduce the chances of illness; don’t think it’s too late to be healthy.