2023 is right around the corner, and that means the opportunity for a fresh start is in reach. Use the remaining days of 2022 to reflect on your life as a whole.
Are you happy with your health? Are you spending your time doing what you love? Do you do enough to give back to your community?
Resolutions Provide Purpose
New Year’s resolutions provide us with goals and purpose in our lives. They are also proven to slow down the aging process. Based on healthy aging research, people with a sense of purpose tend to live longer and have fewer health problems. Purposeful living has already been linked to other aspects of well-being like better sleep, healthier behaviors and a lower risk of heart disease.
It can be easy to think about all the ways you can better yourself and set goals. It can also be easy to let those goals fall by the wayside. How can you improve your chances of successfully achieving your goals?
To avoid letting a resolution get swept under the rug, think about the things that are truly important to you and make them a priority. Then, write down your resolution and your thoughts around it.
Depending on your goals, ask yourself questions you may not yet know the answers to. What is considered healthy aging? What can older adults do to help maintain their health and strength? What are the six nutritional recommendation for adults?
When we set a goal but don’t know how to reach it, it is unlikely that the goal will be reached. Asking yourself these types of questions can help you understand how to meet your goals.
New Year, New You
This is a time to renew lost commitments and begin new ones, as well as goals or even dreams. To spark inspiration and help you reach your goals, we’ve provided six realistic New Year’s resolutions that promote healthy, active aging.
1. Give back to your community. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your local community, but it also benefits your own health. Studies have shown that giving back in retirement provides a sense of purpose, increases self-confidence and brings fulfillment to life. It also provides social benefits and connects you with like-minded individuals, which is great for your mental well-being.
Find an organization or a cause you’re interested in to help your neighborhood and reap the health benefits. Whether you choose to give in big ways or small, giving back is vitally important to your overall wellness. The possibilities are endless to make a lasting impact and touch lives in ways you may not even be aware of.
2. Pick up a new hobby or restart an old one. When was the last time you did something that you truly loved purely for your enjoyment or relaxation? Now is the time to start. Whether it’s a daily knitting session or a weekly game of chess, find something that you enjoy doing and that brings you happiness.
Some people just enjoy fiddling about with a blank canvas and some watercolors, or you could pick up a relaxing activity that doesn’t require perfection, but rather allows you to free your mind. Check out this ultimate guide to hobbies to spark ideas!
3. Change up your exercise routine. Staying physically active is key to healthy aging and senior health. That doesn’t mean you have to spend your entire day staying active, but you should certainly dedicate a portion of your day to fitness.
If you’re just getting started, Harvard Health recommends committing 10 minutes of your day to exercise, with a gradual increase as it becomes a habit. Eventually, you should be able to dedicate the recommended amount of about two hours per week to low-intensity exercise. That is only about 30 minutes a day to a healthier you!
Exercises such as tai chi, water aerobics, walking and stretching can help you control your weight, build your muscles and bones, and improve your balance, posture and mood. Here are more ideas for your exercise routine.
4. Set healthy eating goals. After spending a month eating holiday cookies, sweets and delicious feasts, many people embrace “eating better” as a New Year’s resolution. If you choose a diet overhaul to jump-start your new year, remember that as you age, your body requires healthy foods but fewer calories.
Following a nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do for your health as you age. Strive to eat the number of recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy fats.
If you are unsure about how to start eating healthier, try using a simple program like MyPlate, which can help you build a healthy eating routine.
5. Engage your mind. Keeping your brain challenged helps decrease the risk of cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Researchers believe that many of the supposed age-related changes that affect the mind, such as memory loss, are related to lifestyle.
Researchers at Stanford University found that memory loss can be improved by 30% to 50% simply by engaging in mental exercises. The brain is like a muscle – if you don’t exercise it, its functions will decline.
Be willing to try new things to keep your mind sharp and to bring meaning and engagement to your life. Sign up for a local or online learning course, learn to play an instrument, participate in stimulating conversations, challenge yourself with crossword puzzles or learn a new skill like drawing or woodworking.
6. Be conscious of your health. Getting older means that your body is always changing, so make it a priority to keep up with your health. Visit your doctor annually, if not more often, to be proactive about your overall health and well-being.
Be willing to change for the better, and take the advice your doctor recommends. Doing so will help you have a healthier, happier year.
Jump-start the New Year at Hawthorn Senior Living
Senior living can help you achieve New Year’s resolutions by providing you with the tools and opportunities necessary to succeed. At Hawthorn Senior Living, residents have a wealth of opportunities for improving overall health and wellness. From personalized fitness routines and nutritious food options to fun social events and special interest clubs, there’s always something to engage mind, body and spirit.