16 Habits to Keep You Mentally and Physically Vital

We all want to stay vital in our golden years. The lifestyle choices you make today play a major role in your future wellbeing.

The number of people 65 or older is expected to double between the years 2000 and 2030 according to U.S. government statistics. Get ready for a long and active life. Start now to make these 16 practices a regular part of your daily routine.

8 Habits to Keep You Physically Vital

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. One of the most powerful changes you can make in your diet is to fill most of your plate with healthy fruits and vegetables. They’re low in calories and packed with essential nutrients. Choosing a variety of colors is an easy way to meet your dietary needs.

  2. Switch to healthy fats. Get about one-third of your calories from healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Fatty fish like salmon is also a good source of omega-3s that lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions.

  3. Start the day with breakfast. A hearty breakfast makes it easier to resist junk food all day long. Plus, your body needs to refuel after a long night’s sleep.

  4. Exercise daily. Train for cardiovascular health, strength, balance and flexibility. Find a variety of activities you enjoy so you’ll stay motivated.

  5. Watch your weight. Excess weight can drain your energy and increase your risk for diabetes and other serious health issues. Lose extra pounds gradually rather than resorting to crash diets.

  6. Clean up your environment. You can control some of the substances you’re exposed to. Use safe cleaning products like vinegar and wash the pesticides off of produce.

  7. See your doctor. Give your health team all the information they need to help you. Schedule regular checkups and follow their recommendations.

  8. Sleep well. Aim for seven to eight hours of good quality sleep each night. Go to bed at the same time and take naps when you need to catch up.

8 Habits to Keep You Mentally Vital

  1. Think positive. Look on the bright side. Express your gratitude. Show compassion for yourself and others.

  2. Nurture close ties. Stay in touch with family and friends. Consider getting a roommate if you feel isolated living alone.

  3. Make new friends. Reach out to people with similar interests. Join a book club. Invite a new neighbor to join you for coffee or shopping.

  4. Volunteer your services. Get involved in local groups or professional associations. Join the welcoming committees or help plan the annual fundraiser. Tutor children or work in a community garden.

  5. Laugh more. Lighten up. Watch cartoons with your children. Look for the humor in confusing IRS instructions or surprise snow storms.

  6. Manage your finances. Financial pressures can interfere with your wellbeing. Consult a financial advisor if you need guidance with money matters. Save on a regular basis even if you can put aside only modest amounts.

  7. Learn something new. Stimulate your brain. Teach yourself a foreign language or learn to draw. Play word puzzles or trivia games. Take dance classes or sign up for adult education courses at a community college.

  8. Deal with stress. Practice relaxation methods that work for you. Good choices include deep breathing, warm baths, and listening to instrumental music. Turn to your faith tradition for teachings on coping with adversity or read inspirational materials.

Look forward to getting better as you get older. Celebrate your growing wisdom and all those senior citizen discounts that lie ahead. Keeping yourself in top condition will help you lead a longer and fuller life.

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