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Why Nutrition And Exercise Is Crucial For Elderly Health

Elderly health is a complex topic that encompasses many factors, including diet, exercise, genetics, and environment. Nonetheless, experts believe that the two most important factors for maintaining good elderly health are nutrition and exercise. Read on to learn more. 

Why Nutrition Matters For Older Adults

As people age, their bodies change in many ways. 

Medical experts argue that an aging person’s metabolism slows down, and they become less active. Also, muscle mass and bone density decrease drastically. These changes can make it difficult for the elderly to get the nutrients they need. And they can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and so on.

Luckily, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is beneficial for elderly health. Experts recommend that a healthy diet for older adults should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. These foods provide the essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly.

The following are some specific tips for eating a healthy diet for older adults:

• Consume plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health. It’s recommended to consume at least five servings of fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables every day.

• Shy away from refined grains; go with whole grains. Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to keep one feeling full and satisfied. They contain more nutrients than refined grains, too.

• Handpick lean protein. Lean protein sources, such as fish, chicken, beans, and tofu, are low in saturated fat and calories.

• Limit saturated and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy and saturated fats can increase one’scholesterol rates and amp up the risk of cardiovascular illness. Limit one’s intake of saturated fats by choosing lean protein sources and avoiding processed foods.

• Limit added sugar. Added sugar is found in many processed foods and drinks. It can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. Health experts recommend lower intake of added sugar by avoiding sugary drinks and sweets from the grocery store.

The abovementioned are just a few tips elderly people and their carers can take advantage of. For further guidance, seeking the advice of a professional nutritionist is recommended. 

Why Exercise Matters For Older Adults

Exercise is just as important for older adults as it is for younger people. Regular exercise brings forth many health benefits that’ll be discussed in more detail later on in this post. Continue reading to find out more.

There are many different types of exercise that are suitable for older adults. Some examples include walking, swimming, biking, yoga, and strength training. It’s important to choose activities that are enjoyable and that are health appropriate when it comes to exercising for seniors.

For beginners, it’s best to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration ofworkout sessions over time. Lastly, it’s important to talk to a doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Here are some tips for exercising safely and effectively as an older adult:

• Warm up before each workout and cool down afterward;

• Learn when to take a break when engaging in physically demanding and highly repetitive exercises;

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after each workout session;

• Wear comfortable and exercise-appropriate apparel and shoes;

• Exercise in a safe environment; and so on. 

Benefits Of Nutrition And Exercise For Elderly Health

Eating a healthy diet and exercising can have many benefits for elderly health, including:

• Reduced risk of chronic diseases. Nutrition and exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

• Improved cardiovascular health. Exercise helps to strengthen the heart and improve circulation. This can lead to reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

• Stronger muscles and bones. Exercise helps to build and maintain muscle mass and bone density. This can help to reduce the risk of falls and fractures.

• Improved balance and bodily coordination. Exercising can help to improve balance and coordination. Plus, this can help to reduce the risk of accidental falls.

• Improved mental health. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, and boost mood.

• Increased lifespan. Research has shown that individuals who consume a nutritious diet and regularly exercise tend to lead longer lives.

Overcoming Challenges To Eating Healthy And Exercising Regularly

There are a number of challenges that older adults may face when trying to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Some of the most common challenges include:

• Mobility problems. Mobility problems can make it difficult to get around and prepare healthy meals.

• Sensory changes. Sensory changes, such as changes in taste and smell, can make it difficult to enjoy healthy foods.

• Medications. Some medications can cause side effects that make it difficult to eat healthy meals or engage in exercise.

• Lack of support. Some older adults may not have family or friends who can help them to eat healthy and exercise regularly.

Challenges are on a case-to-case basis. The list above isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t fully take on the whole picture of the subject matter. 

Tips For Overcoming Challenges

If you’re an older adult, there are a number of things you can do to overcome the challenges of eating healthy and exercising regularly. Here are a few tips:

• Choose healthy foods that are easy to prepare. There are a number of healthy foods that are quick and easy to prepare, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources.

• Use assistive devices if needed. If you have mobility problems, there are a number of assistive devices that can help you to get around and prepare healthy meals.

• Exercise with others. Exercising with others can help you to stay motivated and accountable.

If you have any concerns about eating healthy or exercising regularly, talk to your doctor. They can provide you with guidance and support.

Conclusion

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are essential for maintaining good elderly health. Nutrition and exercise can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles and bones, improve balance and coordination, improve mental health, and increase lifespan.

Author

Elizabeth McAdams is an elderly healthcare expert with more than two decades of experience under their belt. Aside from authoring multiple textbooks, they conduct year-long learning sessions for healthcare professionals. 

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