By Amanda Morgan
At any age it is important to maintain your physical and mental health. As you grow older, it becomes more important for the activities you participate in have a positive impact on your health and life. In your free time, you should try to participate in activities that keep your mind active and your body on the move. Once you start to incorporate these activities into your life, you will start to look and feel younger. Read this article to find out the 11 health boosting and life extending activates you need to start today!
The number one activity that you should start today is exercise. Exercise will help you stay healthier and feel younger. Most people who participate in consistent physical activity realize that they move easier as their joints don’t feel as stiff. There is no one way to exercise properly. For people with bad knees or arthritis, try swimming. The water will help to support 90% of your body weight, and ultimately relieve the majority of the pressure on your joints. Swimming is good for your heart as well and will keep this vital organ strong. However, if swimming is not for you, then consider going for a walk or playing some tennis. The important part of doing any exercise is that you keep yourself active. After a few weeks you will notice a big difference in how you feel.
Not only is physical activity important for people as they age but so is mental fitness. Reading is truly a lifelong activity that caters to all age groups. From mystery to romance to non-fiction there is certain to be a book that appeals to you. Whether you are young or old there is some benefit to be reaped from sitting down to enjoy a good book. Studies have shown that seniors who read consistently are able to combat brain aging and maintain agile thinking. Reading will help your memory improve by forging new pathways in the brain as you delve into story lines and characters that differ from your daily life. It has also been shown that reading is an easy way to reduce stress and get your mind off of the things that are bothering you. The less stress in your life, the healthier you will feel.
3) Caring for a Pet
There is a reason that dogs are considered to be man’s best friend. From showing you unconditional love to being a constant companion, the benefits of having a dog are endless. While dogs are popular pets, they are not the only ones you can own. Maybe you are a cat person or think a rabbit could hop into your life. Whatever animal you choose, the important part is having a pet to take care of. Owning and caring for a pet is the perfect activity to do as you go into your retirement years. With all your new free time, you will have time to bond with your animal. You will be having so much fun with your pet that you won’t even realize that you are moving around and getting the exercise you need to keep your body healthy.
If you find that you have a lot of free time in your life and nothing much to do, then you should consider volunteering. The best part about volunteer work is the endless opportunities and you can decide how much time to offer to the cause. Some people love to work one day a week in a soup kitchen while other people will volunteer in the library every day. As long as you love the work you are doing, the specific activity doesn’t necessarily matter. Volunteer work helps to give people a sense of purpose and accomplishment. This provides numerous mental health benefits as you grow older and can extend your life. Activities that require you to move around can be beneficially for your physical health as well. Start doing your research today and find the volunteer work that sounds most appealing to you.
Go out! Meet some friends for a bite to eat or play some cards. One of the best things you can do as you age to keep your mind sharp is to continue to socialize with people. The conversations you have with others will keep your mind active. Talking and processing information will help your brain to keep its analytical skills that ultimately will keep you feeling young. Most importantly, humans are social creatures by nature. If you start to become isolated from people, your mood will start to decease and you may experience the beginning signs of depression. Communicating with people also helps to boost your self-esteem and gives you a sense of belonging. People who have such strong bonds tend to live a longer and more fulfilling life.
Gardening is a popular activity for seniors due to its physical activity and sense of creative accomplishment. The best part of gardening is seeing the results of the hard work you put in. If you were not blessed with a green thumb, don’t worry, there are plants for everyone. Houseplants like cacti and aloe plants are low maintenance. They require little water and are an easy starter plant for someone looking to get into gardening. Gardening outside can be just as easy since you have mother nature on your side. For the best results do some research beforehand and find out which plants are known to thrive in your area. Planting flowers outside your home will add some color to the area. They only require watering if it doesn’t rain, along with occasional pruning. Get some fresh air and get more physical activity in your life by starting your own garden today.
7) Attend Community Events
Do you know what local events are going on in your community? Most people tend to forget that their community has activities that will get you out of the house for a great time. Some towns put on festivals throughout the year, while other towns have movie nights, or summer concerts. If you live in an area with a club house, then there are definitely activities going on that you can join. These events are an easy way to bond with friends, meet new people, and get yourself out of the house. You may even discover a hidden treasure in your local community that you never knew of. Most importantly, staying social will play a huge role in helping you to age gracefully and enjoy life. Pick up your community calendar today and find out what events you are missing out on.
In order to function at your highest level, it is important that you are well rested. While most of us would never consider sleeping to be an activity, and instead just a necessity of life, sleep is actually something you need to leave time for. You choose when you sleep and for how long. If you do not give yourself time to sleep, your body will be unable to function. You will start to feel sluggish physically and mentally. This will level you little energy to do that things you love to do, like spending time with friends and family. It is recommended that you get around seven hours a night to feel your best. Sleep is critical in helping your body to repair itself and keeping your body healthy. Make sure you sleep well tonight and your body will thank you tomorrow.
It is never too late to start expanding your mind by going to school. The world around you is enormous and just waiting to be explored. Do you have a passion for art? Or maybe you are curious about 16th century France. Whatever your interest is embrace it and continue to pursue it, especially as you grow older. Start by reading some books from the local library on your subject of choice. Later, you can enroll in a college course at a local university. Some colleges even offer free online classes, so you can expand your knowledge from the comfort of your own home. Now is the time to pursue your interests, and keep your mind young. When your mind is young, you can never be considered old!
10) Play an instrument
You are never too old to start playing an instrument. Although the stereotype is to learn music starting at a young age, that is not always the case for everyone. Plenty of people are learning to play instruments after the age of 50. Some popular instruments are the piano, violin, or guitar. Music is unique in that it is processed in multiple parts of the brain. This helps you to build new neural connections and strengthen your brain. You may even notice that after playing music you think about things differently or process information faster. It’s never too late to start developing your musical talent, so pick out the instrument that calls out to you and start playing. You may even surprise yourself with how talented you actually are.
11) Play Card Games
The goal of most of the activities on this list has been to increase mental stimulation in order to increase your overall health and life expectancy. People who are happy tend to live longer and feel better. Playing cards is another activity that fulfills these requirements. Club houses usually have weekly games that you can join. If you have some friends that you would rather play cards with then invite them over and make it a regular event. Nothing is better than setting aside time every week to do something you enjoy. You may even end up making some new friends. Whether you have been playing card games since you were a child or have never touched a card in your life, there is always room to grow. Just enjoy the experience, keep up your brain active, and hopefully win a few games.