8 healthy New Year’s resolutions for older adults

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If you’re looking to make 2019 one of your healthiest and happiest years yet, consider focusing on doable goals to boost your health and quality of life. It turns out even small daily adjustments can have a surprisingly big impact on your health!

Here are eight ways you can help yourself feel good and age well:

1. Eat more nutrient-dense foods. You need fewer calories with aging, but just as many nutrients. Eat more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats and poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds. Also consider consuming less sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, white bread and pasta made from refined grains, advises the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

2. Do a variety of physical activities. Older adults can benefit from doing four types of activity regularly. These include aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, for endurance; and activities to strengthen muscles, improve balance and increase flexibility, says NIH. Doing yoga, for example, combines balance, flexibility and strengthening.

3. Think positively. Studies show that a positive attitude has been linked to faster and better recovery from injury or disability, lower risk of chronic disease and memory loss, less isolation and loneliness, and handling stress better without ignoring difficulties, according to Dalhousie University.

4. Stimulate your mind. Challenging your brain to learn something new through a university or community class, book or movie club, or photography group, helps keep your brain healthy, says Dalhousie University. Lifelong learning helps build cognitive reserve, the brain’s resilience and ability to cope with stress and challenges.

5. Help other people. Research reveals volunteering improves health by reducing stress and depression risk, and keeping you physically, mentally and socially active. It also may help you live longer, reports Mayo Clinic.

6. Stay connected and make new friends. Social engagement and participation are especially important for older adults. These are linked to better cognition and overall health, and lower risk of depression and disability, reports Statistics Canada.

7. Engage in the arts. Participating in the arts through music, painting, writing, dance or theatre can stimulate people in unique ways that bring cognitive and mood benefits, according to McMaster University.

8. Share a good laugh. Humor, or a smile, can make you feel good even in difficult times. Laughter also strengthens your immune system, lifts mood, eases pain and lowers stress, says Harvard Health.