Happy senior jogging

5 Health Tips for Starting the New Year

The start of a new year is the perfect time to make some healthy changes. Maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds. Eat more of what you know is good for you. Or simply feel rested and ready for whatever the new year brings. We hear you. It’s been a long, stressful 2020. Which is all the more reason to be nicer to yourself starting with these five new year health tips. Put them into practice to put a new spring in your step for 2021.

1. Strive for Five

The World Health Organization recommends adults should consume at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily — the equivalent to around five servings — to improve overall health and lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Top choices include fruits and vegetables that are dark green or brightly colored, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard, blueberries, cherries and pomegranates. One way to get more greens, reds and blues in your diet is to make a smoothie. Check out these recipes full of superfoods you’ll love.

2. Make Exercise a Habit

Regular moderate-intensity exercise can do wonders for your health. It helps you stay active and independent; reduces the risk of heart disease, colon cancer and diabetes; and keeps bones, muscles and joints healthy. It also boosts mood and improves sleep. If pumping iron isn’t your thing, try doing something you enjoy such as yoga or going for a walk. At Timber Ridge, we’re fortunate to have some of the area’s best hiking trails outside our door, along with a wide choice of fitness classes and regular wellness checks to keep residents on a healthy path.

3. Train Your Brain

In addition to exercising and eating right, learning new skills can help keep your brain healthy. There’s evidence that engaging in activities such as music, theater, dance and creative writing may be linked to improved cognitive function and memory. In fact, any mentally stimulating activity generates new brain cells. By building up a functional reserve, older adults can build a hedge against future cell loss. So read a book, play bridge, do crossword puzzles, or take a class that piques your interest. It can help keep your gray matter in tiptop shape.

4. Stay Connected

The coronavirus has focused attention on the dangers of social isolation for older adults, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia and depression. Fortunately, vaccines are being distributed so we can get back to being together again in the future. In the meantime, Timber Ridge residents have been staying connected with lots of Zoom meetings, outdoor concerts, online and outdoor classes, and limited in-person visits when it’s safe to do so. If you’re feeling isolated, phone a friend or reach out on Facebook. You could also volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart. While you’re giving back to the community, you’ll be doing your health a favor too.

5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you want to be healthier and happier in the new year, making sleep a priority is one of the most important new year health tips. Getting enough sleep every night generates energy for exercise, helps with weight loss, enhances productivity and fosters creative thinking. Depriving yourself of the recommended eight hours of sleep each night has serious health consequences. It reduces the effectiveness of your immune system; increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease; triggers hormones that make you feel hungry (even when you’re full); and makes you feel dull and forgetful. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, stick to a sleep schedule and disconnect from devices. For more tips, visit SleepFoundation.org.

Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle Every Day of the Year

You’ll find wellness programs that strengthen mind, body and spirit at Timber Ridge, including everything from aquacise and bocce to woodworking and yoga. Creative arts, cultural outings and lifelong learning opportunities are yours for the asking.

And healthy, delicious dining options are always on the menu. To learn more about our independent living community’s healthy approach to life, get in touch. We’ll provide answers and, if you wish, schedule an in-person or virtual visit.