Retirement can be a magical time for our older loved ones. It’s a time when they get to sit back and enjoy their lives. Enjoying life is a huge factor when it comes to healthy aging. Research from University College in London, England revealed that happy seniors are usually more fit and robust. Here, we share how older adults can help achieve happiness in everyday life.
Include exercise in your routine
Physical well-being and exercise is a great place to start towards achieving happiness. It can make us feel better and lift our spirits. This is possible through the production of endorphins, hormones and chemicals made by the pituitary gland which act on the nervous system and makes us feel good. This feeling is often referred to as a runner’s high. A regular exercise routine, even a simple, moderate one, can help physically and cognitively – and it’s a whole lot easier to feel happy when you feel healthy. According to the CDC, physical activity benefits older adults in the following ways :
- “Helps maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.
- Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
- Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.”
It’s never too late to start an exercise program and benefit from its effectiveness in fighting some chronic diseases. Studies by the School of Human Kinetics, University of British Columbia, and the Healthy Heart Program, St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC confirm that “…there is irrefutable evidence of the effectiveness of regular physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis) and premature death.”
Spend time with family, friends, and the community
A 2011 poll conducted by Gallup showed that seniors who stay social are happier, less likely to become worried or stressed, and enjoy life overall. Having people to spend time with helps us stay connected and happy. Physical interactions are much more powerful compared to emails or text messages. Even during the pandemic and the restrictions on physical contact, it places on us, connecting virtually has benefits. So make sure that your loved ones have the chance to interact with someone every day.
As our friends pass on or move away, take the time to make new friends. Become more active in the community and join groups that interest you or explore places where you can meet like-minded people who share the same values and interests. When researching senior living options, ask if the community welcomes guests to participate and enjoy the social programs, dining, events, and entertainment with the residents.
Laugh as much as possible
One of the best things in the world is laughter. It not only brings people closer together, but it also lowers cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. According to this 2014 study conducted by Loma Linda University in Southern California, seniors who spent 20 minutes watching funny videos experienced an improvement in their memory. The study also suggested that “humor reduces stress hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and increases your mood state.” So be sure to laugh a lot and aloud because laughter truly is the best medicine.
Even as retirement approaches, there are still plenty of ways to lead a happy life. Exercising, staying connected, and laughing out loud are all easy to do and have tremendous health benefits. To find out more about creating happiness for your elderly loved ones, visit our guide here; Blue Zones.