Eat Well, Get Fit, Have Fun!

With summer now here, it’s the perfect time to find out how to stay fit and have fun in the sun! Eating well, being physically and mentally active, as well as staying socially connected are all vital to everyone’s health and wellbeing. Here are some pro tips to help you feel great inside and out.

Food For Thought

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to look after your health. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean “diet” like only drinking smoothies 24/7! All it means is eating nutritious and balanced meals that are right for your body.

Older adults are often surprised to learn how different their nutritional needs are at age 60 than they were at age 30. Talking to a doctor about your food choices can be beneficial to ensure you are living your healthiest life. That being said, there are a few things everyone should consider when trying to maintain a balanced diet[1]:

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Include whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa
  • Incorporate low fat proteins such as beans and eggs
  • Avoid trans fats such as cakes and cookies
  • Reduce your refined sugar intake
  • And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

The importance of eating healthy can’t be overstated, but no one wants to eat healthy unless the food actually tastes good! That’s why dining at Thrive is more than just eating delicious and nutritious food, it’s an experience of food and fellowship! The atmosphere is designed to encourage older adults to meet new friends, and Thrive’s convivium team makes sure to source local options that are fresh and filled with flavor. If your loved one has a recipe that fills their soul or even just a favorite dish, the team will go out of their way to make them feel at home.

Eating for one? There are benefits like following your own taste buds, prep time can be less time, and you get to keep extra change in your pockets… but these might not all apply to Mom or Dad who may be living alone. There are ways to enhance an older adult’s dining experience who are living independently; here are a few suggestions:

  • Offer to assist with shopping for an older adult whenever possible
  • Be their grocery shopping buddy – set a time each week to shop together
  • Make cooking a group activity – think “cooking club” or weekly themed dinner party – i.e., Taco Tuesday

Exercise Keeps You Young!

Exercise and physical activity are good for everyone, especially older adults. There are 4 basic types of exercise[2], each with specific benefits:

  • Aerobic – increases lung capacity and heart rate… channel your inner Richard Simmons
  • Strength – makes muscles stronger… pump up like Schwarzenegger
  • Balance – prevents you from falling… don’t be trippin’ like Dick Van Dyke
  • Flexibility – stretches your muscles which keeps you limber… become as agile as Mary Lou Retton

Each of these can help in their own way, and it’s good to find a mix in the exercises one does because everyone’s body changes as they get older. This means older adults actually have different reasons for staying in shape than younger folks! More exercise can mean more independence, improved brain function, more energy, and even prevention of disease.

There are some specific (and easy) exercises that are perfect for helping older adults improve their everyday mobility and range of motion. According to Jimmy Stout, owner of Stout Healthcare and the Doctor of Physical Therapy at Georgia-based Thrive communities, some of these are:

  • Walking: use an appropriate assistive device if needed and stick to familiar and even surfaces.
  • Sit to Stand: find a stationary chair, up against a wall for added safety, and practice squatting down into the sitting position then standing back up.
  • Resistance Training: anything from using hand-held weights or resistance bands to carrying groceries or climbing stairs is great for improving muscle strength and bone density (which can help prevent osteoporosis)

And don’t worry… you don’t have to do this stuff alone. In fact, exercising with a friend can help keep you motivated, adventurous, and consistent![3]

Just as important as actually getting out there and doing the exercising is finding new and interesting ways to do it! Thrive offers tons of classes and clubs to join that not only promote physical activity, but social activity – they are also just downright fun to do. From Tai chi and Zumba, to chair volleyball and dancing classes, there are plenty of ways to get fit and actually enjoy doing it!

Safety is no accident!

As you’re thinking about eating better and exercising more, don’t forget to consider your safety. Long hours and strenuous activity can be challenging during those hot, humid, summer months, not just for older adults, but for everyone! So here are a few tips to consider before you head out on your next exciting activity[4]

  • Stay hydrated (again!)
  • Talk to a doctor about any medication affected by the heat outdoors
  • Stay cool – don’t overexpose yourself to the sun, and wear hats and sunscreen
  • Stay in touch – let friends and family know if you’ll be in the heat for long periods of time
  • Have a list of emergency numbers just in case

Your Holistic Health

Eating well, staying fit, and maintaining social connections are all things that should be top of mind especially for older adults! Remember, when considering senior living options, ask questions about how they can meet your loved one’s overall health needs so they can continue to thrive every day!

Whether you’re looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care, you’ll want to find a senior living community that prioritizes the health and wellbeing for your favorite older adults. Thrive Senior Living makes sure that every resident is healthy, happy, and safe every single day!