Winter can be hard on everyone’s mental and physical health. Night falls much quicker than we are used to, and the cold convinces us to stay inside under our favorite blankets instead of taking a walk.
Because the COVID-19 pandemic is still heavily affecting our country, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, only 28–34% of adults aged 65–74 are physically active, and fewer than 5% of adults get at least thirty minutes of physical activity each day.
There are several ways to keep yourself feeling young, sharp, and energized as the winter season drags on. Make a conscious choice every day to eat healthy foods, move your body, and focus on positive thoughts.
Choosing the Right Foods
We all know that we should be eating healthy foods, but what exactly are those foods? It can seem overwhelming at first, but maintaining a healthy diet gets easier as it becomes a routine. A good place to start is by choosing more fresh foods and limiting others. Read the labels on the foods you buy to ensure they are low in sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars.
Keep your heart healthy by choosing fresh vegetables like spinach, kale, carrots, and broccoli, and fresh fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and grapes. Whole grains should also always be your first choice: whole-grain bread, brown rice, and plain oatmeal are great places to start. Eating healthy also means getting enough protein by eating fish like salmon, tuna, or trout, and other lean meats like chicken or turkey. Eggs, nuts, and legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), are also high in protein.
Remember, healthy eating isn’t about restrictions, becoming too thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you actually love. Keeping up a healthy diet is all about improving your overall health, boosting your mood, and having more energy.
Staying Fit Is Fun
One of the best ways to feel good, get more energy, and live a long life is to exercise on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you never exercised until now; today is the perfect time to start.
There are several ways regular exercise can lead to a healthier (and happier) life. Consistency is important, but have to make a trip to the gym to get moving. Make the decision to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or go on a walk around your office building at lunch. Any kind of exercise is better than none!
Exercising can help you control your weight and give you more energy. It can even help stave off heart disease, prevent high blood pressure, and reduce your chance of stroke. One of the best things about getting regular physical activity is that exercise can improve your mood. Exercise causes chemical changes in our bodies that elevate mood, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.
Eating the right foods and getting enough exercise are both important parts of a healthy lifestyle, but your mental health also plays a big role. While researchers aren’t sure why, it is clear that a positive outlook can improve your health. Studies have found that dwelling on negative emotions actually weaken your immune response, and that positive thinking helps people make better health decisions.
How can you think positively more regularly? Smile more! A study done by the University of Kansas found that smiling, even a big fake one, can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure when you’re under stress. Another way to think more positively is to “reframe” a stressful situation. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, try to appreciate the fact that you can afford a car that gets you to where you need to go and accept that there isn’t anything you can do about the traffic jam. Switching your focus to how you can best use the newfound alone time is another way to focus on the positive. This kind of reframing can also help you build your resiliency, enhancing your ability to adapt to stressful situations.
It could be time to make a change if your current home isn’t conducive to your new healthy lifestyle. An active adult community like Epcon is the perfect place to live an active life! Made with social adults in mind, there are an abundance of opportunities to meet your neighbors. There are also fun activities, including fitness classes at the clubhouse and pool.
Active adult communities also offer low-maintenance living, meaning that you no longer need to worry about mowing your lawn or shoveling snow. This means you can spend more of your time doing what you choose, like fitting in that thirty-minute walk or running to the store for more fresh food.
Are you ready to take advantage of everything an active adult community has to offer? At Epcon Communities, our team of home building professionals can help you personalize the perfect home to suit your active lifestyle. Subscribe to our blog for more advice on living your healthiest life!