The National Institute of Aging in its latest bulletin highlights the fact that the average lifespan in US has gone up from 49 yrs in 1900 to 79 yrs in 2013. However, it also points out that 61% (roughly 1 in 3) elderly (65 and above) also suffer from multiple chronic conditions. Longer life span should therefore be healthier extension of living.
NIA has useful tips about healthier diet and regular physical work out for elderly. As regards food, it recommends: 1) plenty of liquids; 2) making eating a social event; 3) planning healthy foods of right kind and right amount; 4) varying vegetables and fruits; 5) diet to include items particularly good for teeth, gums as well; 6) use herbs and spices to supplement healthy diet; 7) take vitamins or supplements after consulting physician.
NIA also recommends regular physical activity depending upon the state of health and any ongoing medication. For most older adults, brisk walking, riding a bike, swimming, weight lifting, and gardening are safe.
Start slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a long time. Little by little, build up your activities and how hard you work at them.
Don’t hold your breath during strength exercises. That could cause changes in your blood pressure. It may seem strange at first, but you should breathe out as you lift something and breathe in as you relax.
Use safety equipment. For example, helmet for bike riding or right shoes for walking or jogging.
Unless your doctor has asked you to limit fluids, be sure to drink plenty of fluids when you are doing activities. Many older adults don’t feel thirsty even if their body needs fluids.
Always bend forward from the hips, not the waist. If you keep your back straight, you’re probably bending the right way. If your back “humps,” that’s probably wrong.
Warm up your muscles before you stretch. Try walking and light arm pumping first.
Exercise should not hurt or make you feel really tired. You might feel some soreness, a little discomfort, or a bit weary, but you should not feel pain. In fact, in many ways, being active will probably make you feel better. Many groups have information about physical activity and exercise for older adults. The following list of resources will help you get started: