Healthy Nutrition Rich Meals & Daily Exercise

mature woman swimming

As people grow older, the importance of nutrition and exercise only gets more important in maintaining their health and fitness. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting daily activity is a great start. But there are specific things home health caregivers can make sure elderly persons are incorporating into their diet and routine to help them stay vital.

Incorporate meals rich in these nutrients:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease, arthritis and some cancers. These are found in different fish oils and flaxseed oils. Older persons should eat foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids at least twice a week.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D become increasingly important as people grow older. These nutrients help preserve bone density. Additionally, calcium helps keep blood pressure at manageable levels. In addition to dairy products, many leafy greens are excellent sources of calcium and essential vitamins.
  • Limiting sodium content helps to prevent high blood pressure, so caregivers should prepare meals that are low in sodium. This doesn’t just mean cutting back on table salt: frozen and processed foods are often high in sodium unless the label specifically says otherwise. Fresh fruits and vegetables have the lowest sodium content.

Incorporate the following exercises into a regular program

  • Cardio and endurance exercises should be performed for 30 minutes every day to get the heart rate up and increase breathing. Walking, riding a bicycle and swimming are all excellent low-impact cardio exercises. If the older person gets tired quickly, this routine can be broken up into ten minute segments.
  • Strength and resistance training helps older persons maintain their bone mass, improves balance, and strengthens muscles – all of which are important in preventing falls and broken bones. Weights, resistance bands, or even walls and furniture can all be used for resistance. 2-3 workouts a week should be performed and all muscle groups should be exercised.
  • Stretching is very important to a good exercise program. Stretching before and after exercise helps the muscles warm up and cool down. It also helps improve overall flexibility, reduces muscle soreness and stiffness, and can prevent injuries.

10 Easy Nutritional Tips to Eat Clean

Fresh Vegetables Greens

  1. Eat like a baby! Smaller more frequent meals throughout the day this will keep your blood sugar levels stable and will increase your metabolism
  2. Always eat breakfast! Your morning meal establishes a healthy metabolism for the rest of the day. Plus, you wont consume large quantities of food at lunch or dinner
  3. Drink lots of water! H2O! The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) a day. For women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) a day
  4. Change how you snack. Rule of thumb: in the “health-food” world buy foods with five ingredients or less. If you can pronounce it you can eat it
  5. Not all sugar is created equal! Swap your white sugar for real maple syrup, raw honey, brown rice syrup, and even coconut nectar. These sugars have more advantages over standard white table sugar, including a slower spike in blood sugar, they are rich in vitamins and nutrients including manganese, magnesium, Vitamin A, calcium and potassium, just to name a few
  6. Stick to clean proteins ONLY! What is a clean protein? Well, it’s usually free of antibiotics and animal by-products (factory-farmed animals are sometimes fed ground up blood and remains of other dead animals), they could be fed an all-organic diet or raised on a pasture instead of corn and grain, resulting in leaner, more nutritious meat. Look for the No Hormones/ No antibiotics / free range on the labels
  7. Like mom always said “ eat your veggies”. When looking at your dinner plate it should be more than half full of veggies! The recommended daily amount for most adults is 2½ to 3 cups. Vegetables are full of vitamins and heart healthy fiber!
  8. Reduce your alcohol intake. I know I know, you’ve had a long day and want that glass of wine. But save it for Friday! You can still have alcohol, but stay within the recommended limit—one drink per day for women and two for men
  9. Holy whole grains! Look for the word “whole” with the first ingredient in breads and pastas. Why holy you might ask? A study found that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains have a lower body mass and less belly fat!!!
  10. And last but not least, listen to your stomach people! Don’t wait until you’re in a food coma to stop eating. Once you feel content, you should be done with your meal.

Protect Your Skin From The Sun

Baby Red Sunglasses

When the sun hits our skin, changes occur within the cells. These changes contribute to a sped up maturation process of the skin, increasing susceptibility to the most common type of cancer; skin cancer. Be aware that the rays of the sun are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are out in the sun always use sunscreen and wear protective clothing.

Check your skin once a month for growth, sores, moles, or birthmarks that correspond to the following characteristics (remember this mnemonic):

  • Asymmetry Cancer spots will not look equal on both sides if an imaginary line in drawn down the center of it
  • Borders A mole or spot with blurry and/or jagged edges
  • Color A mole that has changed colors or consists of more than one hue
  • Diameter A spot larger than a pencil eraser should be evaluated
  • Elevation Cancer spots are often raised and have uneven surfaces

If you identify with any of the above, please have your skin evaluated by a doctor.

Physical Therapy Recommendations For Preventing Falls and Risks with Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an exercise of the mind and the body. It involved proper breathing, coordination and balance. The goal is to successfully combine these components through slow intentional movements, breathing, and neurological channels including mindfulness and imagery. Originating in China, the number of older adults participating in Tai Chi continues to increase all over the world.
About 1 in 3 older adults will fall one or more times per year. Tai Chi has proven to be a successful intervention, in preventing, and reducing the risk for falls. According to the Logghe’s Group (Netherlands), fall risks are decreased through Tai Chi by an extraordinary 49%. Tai Chi can be particularly helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease, stroke survivors, and frail elders. Tai Chi is a weight-bearing exercise that increases leg strength. Leg strength increases balance; therefore, the risk of falling decreases. Proprioception is a “sense of how our bodies are positioned”, a perception that can generously develop through practicing Tai Chi. Partakers state that the practice has helped them become more “conscious of their bodies”. Tai Chi also boosts neuromuscular coordination- the connection between nerves and muscles, increasing reflex and reaction time.

One of the greatest predictors of falls, is the FEAR of falling. It’s hard not to be afraid of falling especially when there has been a history of falls. Tai Chi reduces the anxiety associated with this fear, and helps people feel more comfortable and confident with their own bodies. It’s important for patients to visualize their health in a systematic oriented way—the way Tai Chi is designed. Find a Tai Chi school in your community and help fuel your journey to better health. ​The video provided below is a montage of individual stories of how Tai Chi has benefited their lives.

Tai Chi Senior Center