Today I Learned...
- Stay active with a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day.
s we age, it's important to pay attention to our fitness and nutrition needs in order to maintain good health and quality of life.
For adults over 70, there are certain considerations to keep in mind when it comes to staying active and nourished. In this article, we'll explore the fitness and nutrition needs of older adults and provide tips on how to age well. Whether you're already in your seventies or approaching this milestone, these guidelines can help you maintain your health and independence as you age.
Eating well is important at any age, but it's especially critical for adults 70+. A healthy diet helps you maintain a healthy weight and can help keep your body strong and healthy.
A few tweaks to your diet can deliver what you need. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Bump up your calcium
Calcium strengthens your bones so they can fight off osteoporosis and help prevent bone fractures.
Try to include three servings of calcium-rich foods and drinks in your daily diet, such as dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish or sardines with bones (these provide the most calcium), fortified cereal (such as oatmeal or wheat germ—which you can sprinkle on top if it's not already added); milk; cheese.
If you have trouble getting enough calcium in your diet, try a supplement. Be sure it has vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.
2. Get more fiber
Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly by making it easier to pass bowel movements. It also reduces a person's risk of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer—and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
Here are some foods that are high in fiber:
- Whole grains: Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice are good sources of fiber. Look for breads and cereals that are made with whole grains.
- Legumes: Legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in fiber. They can be added to soups, salads, and other dishes for a fiber boost.
- Fruits and vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, including apples, bananas, berries, avocados, and leafy greens.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds such as almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are good sources of fiber.
- Popcorn: Popcorn is a whole grain and a good source of fiber. Just be sure to opt for air-popped or lightly-seasoned varieties to keep the calorie and fat content in check.
3. Boost your protein
Here are a few tips to boost your protein intake:
- Eat protein-rich foods: Some good sources of protein include meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
- Include protein at every meal: Try to include a source of protein at every meal and snack. For example, you could have eggs for breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch, and grilled chicken for dinner.
- Snack on protein-rich foods: If you're looking for a quick protein boost between meals, snack on nuts, seeds, or a protein bar.
- Try a protein supplement: If you have trouble getting enough protein through food alone, consider trying a protein supplement, such as a protein powder or a protein bar.
- Work with a healthcare professional: If you have any concerns about your protein intake, talk to a healthcare professional. They can help you determine the right amount of protein for your age, weight, and activity level, and suggest specific foods or supplements to help you meet your protein needs.
4. Cut the salt
Eating foods that contain more salt than necessary can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Instead of adding salt, use herbs and spices for flavor.
Learn More: Hidden Sources of Salts in Our Diet
5. Choose healthy fats
To keep your heart healthy, avoid saturated and trans fats. Instead, opt for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Saturated and trans fats are types of unhealthy fats that can increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Saturated fats are typically found in animal-based products, such as meat and dairy, and are solid at room temperature. Trans fats are often found in processed foods and can be listed on ingredient labels as "partially hydrogenated oils."
On the other hand, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are types of healthy fats that can help to improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. These types of fats are typically liquid at room temperature and can be found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and fish, as well as plant-based oils like olive oil and avocado.
It's important to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats and include more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in your diet for optimal heart health. Aim for about 25-35% of your daily calories to come from fat, with most of those fats coming from healthy sources like nuts, seeds, and plant-based oils.
Learn More: Healthy Cooking Oils: Which Should You Use?
6. Don’t forget beverages
As you age, your body's ability to sense thirst can decrease, which means you may not feel as thirsty even when you are dehydrated. This is why it's important to make a conscious effort to drink enough water, especially if you are physically active or in a hot or dry environment.
In addition to water, you can also get hydration from other beverages like fruit juices and low-fat milk. These drinks can provide extra nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and protein, which can be especially important if you have difficulty getting enough nutrients from food alone. However, it's important to keep in mind that these drinks can also be high in sugar and calories, so it's best to consume them in moderation.
Overall, the key is to pay attention to your body's hydration needs and make an effort to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. Aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day, and more if you are physically active or in a hot or dry environment.
Be Smart About Fitness!
Exercise keeps you active and independent, prevents health problems, and revs up your metabolism—all while improving strength and balance. It may also help give you more energy, boost your mood…and improve brain function!
Here are some tips to get you moving:
7. First, see your doctor
If you’re starting a new fitness program, talk to your doctor about which types of exercise are best for you!
8. Get aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, can improve the way you breathe and strengthen your heart. Experts recommend that older adults get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days.
Try GetSetUp's aerobic exercise class: Morning Fitness - Let's Get Moving (aerobic exercise).
9. Stay flexible
Stretching and yoga are great ways to improve flexibility, range of motion, and overall physical function. When you stretch, you are lengthening and strengthening the muscles and connective tissues in your body. This can help to reduce muscle tension, soreness, and stiffness, and can also improve your posture and balance.
Check out our class: Strengthen & Stretch with Slow Flow Yoga and get started today!
10. Look out for your joints
Do things that are gentle on your joints, or they will weaken as you age. Walking, swimming and biking are all good choices to keep your hips and knees working well.
Learn more: Get Fit and Healthy (Without Impacting Your Joints)
You can stay in shape and stay healthy for many years beyond age 70.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. There are many ways to stay in shape and stay healthy for many years beyond age 70, and we want to help you do that!
The best thing about the tips we shared here is that they don’t require a lot of equipment or money; all it takes is some determination and willingness to try something new. Good luck on your journey towards better health!