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Three Key Aspects of Senior Health

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical for many reasons, and it is particularly important for seniors. Robust health enhances our quality of life. If you are a senior, you will feel better, live longer, and be happier when your health is at an optimal level. Usually, when we think about boosting our health, we think regarding physical fitness. Physical well-being is one relevant component, but other factors such as emotional, social, and intellectual health play an important role too. In fact, all of the parts are interrelated and work together. A boost in one area will boost the whole. Enhance all areas, and you will have a more robust, healthful life. Let’s look at the three less commonly discussed health domains.

Intellectual well-being

Exercising the mind is an essential part of a senior’s exercise regimen. Your brain is a muscle just like the other muscles in your body and requires regular action to keep it fit. Studies show that keeping your brain active may help prevent dementia and memory loss, two common conditions that affect the elderly. In fact, one study had respondents participate in brain training exercises for several weeks. After the study was over, participants showed improvements in mental challenges, such as memory and reasoning, for five years. So, what type of exercises can seniors do that will stimulate the brain? Here are a few:

  • Learning activities: Learning something new is a fun way to pump up the brain. You may use parts of the brain you haven’t used before. You could learn to play an instrument, study a new language, or tackle a new skill.
  • Play games: Games are wonderful for health in more ways than one. Not only do they stimulate brain activity but many games need partners, which means you’ll enhance your social health as well (more on that later). Of course, you can always play games like Sudoku, crossword, jumble, and so on when you’re alone. Games that require strategy and planning are best for brain training.
  • Create: Write poems, songs, stories, journals, or letters. If writing is not your thing, make art. Color, paint, make pottery, crafts, and so on. By getting the creative juices flowing you will get the brain working too.

Emotional well-being

Emotionally healthy seniors are content with who they are. They have had close personal connections with others in their life and seek those in the present as well. When seniors withdraw from others, emotional and physical health suffers. According to Family Doctor.org, people who are emotionally healthy have “lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier weight.” One of the keys to stronger emotional health is to be aware of your emotions and take steps to work through negative feelings. When people deny or shove away difficult emotions, then it affects their physical health. These tips will help you have a more vigorous emotional life:

  • Identify: Identify difficult emotions in real-time (to yourself or in writing). Don’t let them fester.
  • Share: Tell someone close to you if you are struggling with emotions.
  • Reduce Stress: Keep stress levels under control by exercise, massage, hot baths, relaxation, and knowing when to say “no.”
  • Connect: Spend time with loved ones regularly. Tell someone you love them.
  • Give: Give of your time and emotions to others. This can be in small or big ways. Volunteering is one suggestion for the able-bodied seniors that gives a feeling of accomplishment.

Social well-being

Your interactions with others develop a healthy social life. When people feel like they are part of a greater whole, they experience less loneliness and greater happiness. In fact, social health is closely related to emotional health. As seniors age, they often lose their spouse, friends, and other loved ones. These losses can make it challenging to maintain a social life. However, the American Psychological Association has several articles revealing that close relationships are linked to health, well-being, and longer life. What are things you can do to maintain a rich social life? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Social Connections: Join social groups and clubs to make new friends.
  • Friendships: Maintain contact with old friends.
  • Parties: Host parties or get-togethers at your place (if possible) to expand your circle of close friends.
  • Religious Observance: Attending church provides people with common beliefs and values to connect. Many churches have plenty of activities you can be involved in.
  • Activities: Try new social activities with people you do not know. You may strike up a new friendship.

Seniors benefit most from a well-rounded life. This includes maintaining all aspects of your health. Be mindful of your physical health by attending your doctor’s appointments, eating a nutritional diet, and exercising. However, do not forget about the other health areas. Keeping your intellectual, emotional, and social fitness in top shape will enhance your overall health and happiness.