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Aging Adults - Incorporate These Five Habits to Live Your Best Life

Presented as a service to our local communities from Bristol Total Fitness personal trainer Sue G.

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Yes, you can change.  Creating healthy habits can be done at any age. And while adopting the 5 habits listed below won’t make you look like a 20 year old (unless your actually 20) – they will help you live your best life – physically and mentally.

Incorporate these five habits to live your best life:

1. Physical Exercise:

Regular exercise = more energy, improved balance, counteracts and prevent disease, and improves brain function.  The CDC states that seniors should get 150 minutes, or two and a half hours, of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. Two days of the week, seniors should practice muscle-strengthening activities that target different areas of the body. Throughout the week, perhaps once every other day, they should practice activities that utilize balance.

Before you launch into an exercise regimen, it’s important to check with a physician to ensure you’re healthy enough for exercise, and to see which exercises are ideal for your current fitness level.

  • Walking (take a stroll around town, the bike path or around colt state park)
  • Swimming and Water Aerobics
  • Chair Yoga
  • Ti Chi
  • Qigong
  • Senior Fitness Classes at your local gym (these classes include a combination of balance, coordination and strength)

Resources:

  • Senior Planet from AARP offers virtual Senior Fitness Classes
  • Local gyms like Bristol Total Fitness offer Silver Sneakers, Fit for Life, Core & Balance and much more! Click here to view the class schedule.

 

2. Mental Exercise:

Feeling that your cognitive function (how you think and learn) has changed as you have aged?

Suggestions, with links to resources, to help you find something you can do to help keep  your mind sharp daily:

  • Part-time Job --- According to AARP look for companies that participate in the Employer Pledge Program - these employers are committed to hiring the 50+
  • Pursuing a new hobby – great resources available from RI Elder Info
  • Learning a new Skill (take a class) – in addition to free classes at our local library – check out SeniorPlanet.org from AARP– they offer both live and on-demand classes.
  • Mentoring – check in with Score.org for mentoring information and opportunities.

 

3. Staying Connected:

We are social creatures, being socially engaged is important for our well-being.  According to an article by the CDC “there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk.”

Here are few ways to keep you connected:

  • Join an exercise group – many gyms in the area, like Bristol Total Fitness, offer programming to keep aging adults social.
  • Volunteer – visit RI Elder Info
  • Visit your local senior center to make connections and get help with resources – for e.g. in Bristol there’s Benjamin Church Senior Center
  • Learn new technology  - check out  tech classes at Rogers Free Library, cber seniors or SeniorPlanet.org from AARP.

4. Healthy Eating:

As we age our metabolism slows down. It is important to get all the nutrients we need along with being mindful of our portion sizes. Checking with your physician or a registered dietitian for your dietary needs can help you better understand how to make healthy choices. There are always special considerations for health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and more.

Resources to help you get started:

 

5. Get Enough Sleep:

Sleep is extremely important – and it’s common for the aging adult to experience having trouble sleeping. The short explanation - as you age your circadian rhythm changes (the bodies internal clock) and it makes it difficult to get the appropriate sleep. In addition to  New research from investigators at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital reports finding a strong link between getting 5 or fewer hours of sleep and an increased risk of dementia.

Tips to help you get better Zzs from Dr.Susheel Patil of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Center:

  • Consider exercising 3 to 4 hours before bedtime
  • Have a wind-down routine of 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed
  • Go to bed at a regular time each night
  • Wake up at a regular time every morning
  • Avoid naps during the day
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine after 12 pm

If you are having persistent trouble sleeping, call your physician to see if you may have an underlying condition that you are not aware of.

They say health is wealth and at Bristol Total Fitness we agree. With our strong values about healthy living, we want everyone to have an opportunity to be part of our community and live their best life at any age.

Get a Free Pass to Try Out Bristol Total Fitness: 

Visit  www.totalfitnessclubs.com/free-membership-pass/ 

Full use of club facilities. Unlimited Group Exercise Classes: Offer is for local residents only.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.