Revera was the first company to appoint a Chief Medical Officer in the Canadian senior living sector. In her blog series, Dr. Rhonda Collins offers helpful advice for seniors to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Feeling your best is important at any age, and staying healthy is a good way to feel your best. Just because we age, doesn’t mean we can’t stay fit and active. In fact, it is one of the best ways to keep your physical and mental health intact.
Here are five tips to keep your brain and body healthy:
- Stay active. Studies have demonstrated that people who exercise add years to their lives. Physical activity can also help prevent memory loss, improve strength, reduce chronic pain and improve sleep. Anybody who exercises regularly will tell you they feel more energized and youthful. You don’t need to train for a triathlon, you just need to move more—walking, gardening, swimming, even cleaning the house or cutting the grass—being active can be part of a regular routine. It is important to find an activity you like to do so it doesn’t seem like a chore. If you have trouble getting motivated, find a friend or family member to exercise with you and it will be even more enjoyable. Finally, you should check with your doctor before starting any new program.
- Eat a healthy diet. There are reliable studies that demonstrate that the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent memory loss, reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of certain cancers, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on whole foods like bright, colourful fruits and vegetables, lean protein like fish and chicken, nuts and seeds and heart-healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. It also focuses on avoiding processed foods that are typically high in sugar and salt and poor nutritional value.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning. Avoid reading, working or watching TV in bed and do something relaxing before going to bed each night.
- Stay socially connected. Healthy relationships are important for our well-being. Spending time with family and friends can help to boost your mood, ward off depression, stimulate your brain and preserve your memory.
- Keep your mind healthy. Exercising your brain is as important as exercising your body. Each thing you do to stimulate your brain helps to keep it healthy and reduces your risk of memory loss. Find a brain exercise that works for you. Playing games, working on crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles are enjoyable for some people. Trying a new recipe, learning a new language, learning to play an instrument are fun for others. You could try something as simple as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand or taking a new route to the grocery store or friend’s house.
Consider making these five tips part of your daily life, and you may be surprised at what a difference little changes can make in your overall health.
Dr. Rhonda Collins
brings passion and expertise in memory care, dementia, falls prevention and clinical quality improvement to the role of Revera’s Chief Medical Officer – a first for the Canadian senior living sector. Dr. Collins is a family physician with a certificate of added competence in Care of the Elderly from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.