For seniors, one thing definitely matters if they wish to age well: everything in moderation. This is especially true for physical activity, weight management, and alcohol use. Health experts worldwide urge older adults to consider their changing needs and limitations as they age. Here, we outline some of the most important things to consider when making moderation a mantra for seniors.
There is such a thing as too much exercise, and it’s also a big no-no for seniors. While physical activity is vital for healthy aging and health in general, the diminished capacity of the body as we age can lead to an overload or even injury. The loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, dementia, cardiac issues, and more can increase the risk for injury – but that doesn’t mean seniors shouldn’t exercise!
Seniors can reap great benefits for their bodies and their minds by exercising safely. In fact, safe exercise can improve balance, strength, power, functional ability, coordination, gait, and mobility while decreasing depression, fall risk, and the fear of falling.
Are you interested in an in-depth discussion on safe, effective exercise for seniors? One Scandanavian Study on “exercise and injury prevention in older people” provides background and practical advice on the best ways to approach exercise.
Maintaining a healthy weight becomes harder as we age. Hormones change, muscles lose mass, the physical strain becomes an issue, lifestyles shift, chronic illnesses set in, appetite changes, and nutrients absorb differently. Regardless of the cause, however, the simple fact is that obesity for seniors can cause a range of health challenges. According to the OJIN study “Obesity in Older Adults,” health problems associated with obesity include:
- Respiratory problems
- Skin conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gallbladder disease
There is controversy about weight loss for seniors in the scientific community, though. On the flip side of maintaining a healthy weight is the danger of weight loss leading to a loss of lean muscle mass. This creates a paradox around weight management. In order to take your special considerations into account, consult your physician to ask about the best way to approach weight loss in moderation.
Tobacco and alcohol
While the jury is still trying to decide on the health benefits of wine, consuming large amounts of alcohol is dangerous and can have many severe consequences as we age. Unfortunately, the human body becomes more and more vulnerable as it ages and becomes less efficient at handling alcohol’s toxic properties. This is the reason why the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism urges seniors to limit themselves to just one serving of alcohol every day. Many medications also have adverse interactions with alcohol, so be careful when partaking and consult your primary physician on the appropriate ways to enjoy alcohol safely.
The same can be said for tobacco — cessation or avoidance of smoking is welcome at any point during our lives, but the issue becomes even more pressing as we grow older.
Living life to the fullest requires moderation – being mindful and attentive of moderation in the areas mentioned above can have a positive impact on a full, happy life. For more information on aging well, check out Arrow Senior Living’s Blue Zones guide.