A guide to gauge your well-being and ensure a continued path to success
How do you personally define health and wellbeing?
How do you gauge when you have it?
Are there daily routines that you participate in that are non-negotiable to ensure you are caring for yourself in this way?
Research shows that certain habits contribute to greater mental and physical wellness. This applies to all ages, including seniors. In fact, some would argue that as we age it becomes more and more important to adopt a regular exercise regime and health routine. The good news is we have control over many of these habits and they can start at home.
Some examples of where to start and their benefits include:
Walking promotes mental clarity.
Mindfulness and meditation are shown to reduce stress.
Regular optimal sleep is beneficial for current feelings of well-being and greater life expectancy.
Strength training – including bodyweight exercises needing little to no equipment – helps balance the body, improve posture and alignment, and decrease pain and stiffness in the joints.
For mental health, in some studies, physical activity has been linked to improved cognitive performance and reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
The flip side is that lack of exercise and other physical activity may increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke — all of which can harm the brain.
In general, staying active is known to lower the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and symptoms of depression, all of which in turn can improve cognitive health. (NIH 2023)
On the physical health front for seniors, it used to be a common belief that older adults could at best only slow the gradual decline of their bone density, balance, muscle tone, strength and cardiovascular health. It was not a compelling reason for most seniors to start weight training or doing cardio!
Somewhere around 20 years ago, studies started showing that older adults participating in exercise programs could improve strength and stamina dramatically. A strength training program at McMaster University showed that seniors can gain strength at the same rate as younger adults in their 20s (Tarnopolsky 2007). Now this is much more motivating news. Baby boomers today are among the most active of all age groups !
Yes we want to look great at all ages, but how often can you say that you feel great?
Some qualitative measures to use include: having the energy to enjoy activities with loved ones, feeling peace, clarity, positivity or the absence of intense stress, and being pain-free. You’ll need to be self-aware and do honest check-ins or have someone you trust help you out here.
An active, healthy life can be initiated at any stage of life and it will stimulate greater enjoyment. Weight training and cardio can help you feel less stiff, more mobile, stronger, more confident, calmer and less stressed or overwhelmed. It starts a virtuous circle of wellness… one in which you feel as though your life and your lifestyle is greatly improved by your own accord.
As with anyone starting a new physical training regime, it is helpful to work with someone who knows the specific exercises to adopt and which to avoid. Someone who can ensure that your form and delivery is optimal who can keep you accountable to your goals. Especially as you are getting used to prioritizing a new routine, change can feel uncomfortable so this is another great way to set you up for success. I’d be happy to answer any more questions you may have on how to get started or to assess how you can improve your current routine!