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Self-Care for Seniors: Eat, Sleep, and Play!

Senior woman exercising with a hula hoop

Establishing a self-care routine has countless benefits. When you eat nutritious foods, exercise your body, and get plenty of rest, it can positively impact your sense of well-being, lower your blood pressure, improve your digestion, and even boost your immune system.

Further adding to this list, when you focus on self-care, you go beyond just caring for yourself. The author Anne Lamott eloquently explains, "When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved – with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea – we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance." Essentially, if you want to make a difference to those around you, you must first care for yourself.

We're here to encourage you!

Self-care involves caring for your whole self: mind, body, and soul. At RLC, we believe these elements are so essential we're dedicating an article to each. Last month we shared ways to boost your mental fitness. Today we're focusing on the body, and next month we'll share a fun surprise to help uplift your soul. For now, let's eat, sleep, and play our way to optimal health.

EAT // BRIGHTEN UP YOUR FOOD

Pull up a plate, and let's talk about food, which is the easiest and most natural way to get the nutrients you need to age well. Eating the right foods can boost your immune system and help alleviate stress. It's like nature's medicine, but how do you know if you're getting the right mix of foods?

A quick way to assess the quality of your diet is to look for color. Dietitians often suggest "eating the rainbow" because colorful fruits and veggies have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that benefit different aspects of your health. By incorporating multiple colors on your plate, you know you're getting a nice variety of minerals and vitamins, which is key. Need some inspiration? Here's a helpful list of colorful foods to try:

Red: beets, cherries, cranberries, pink grapefruit, pomegranates, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, red apples, red grapes, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice, watermelon

Orange & Yellow:  squash, apricots, cantaloupe, carrot, corn, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, orange peppers, bananas, papaya, peaches, pineapple, pumpkin, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines, yams, yellow peppers

Green: artichokes, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, collard greens, cucumber, green beans, grapes, green onions, peppers, kale, kiwi, leeks, limes, mustard greens, okra, pears, peas, lettuce, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, zucchini

Blue: & Purple: blackberries, blueberries, currants, dates, eggplant, purple grapes, purple grape juice, plums, prunes, purple figs, raisins, red cabbage

To learn more about helpful superfoods to add into your daily diet, meet RLC's singing chef, Chef Garrett Scanlan.  Watch these videos to learn about his Top 5 Superfoods, and enjoy his fun songs at the end of each video!

SLEEP // GET YOUR BEAUTY REST

Sleep is such a healing activity. It's when your body truly relaxes and repairs itself from any cell damage that occurred during the day. In fact, it's called "beauty rest" because your blood flow naturally increases while you sleep, and your skin can rebuild its collagen and repair damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots. A good night's sleep can also improve your concentration and memory formation and refresh your immune system, which helps prevent disease. Wow, right?

How much sleep do you need for your body to perform these mini-miracles? Sleep requirements vary from person to person. Most healthy adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but scientists now suggest it's how you feel in the morning that's more important than a specific number of hours. As we age, it's normal to experience changes in our sleeping patterns, such as becoming sleepy earlier, waking up earlier, or experiencing less deep sleep.

To find your magic number, aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Keep a journal next to your bed and record how you feel each morning. If you're consistently waking up feeling rested, you're in the sweet spot. If you wake up feeling tired, try adjusting the amount of sleep you're getting to see if that makes a difference. It may also help to record the amount of caffeine, sugar, and exercise you're getting. Diet and exercise can play a role in the quality of your sleep, and it may turn out that simply limiting caffeine and increasing exercise could help you get better ZZZs.

PLAY // MAKE EXERCISE FUN

It may go without saying, exercising your body is important. It's a great way to lower your risk of developing various health conditions, including heart disease and dementia. Not only that but when your muscles are strong, activities like getting up from a chair or opening a door are much easier.

We'd like to suggest that "exercise" doesn't have to be a Jazzercise class or lifting some iron. Anything that involves movement is exercise! The secret is to keep moving and be consistent. Whether you stretch, walk, swim, dance, ride a bike, or play pool, any amount of movement is good for your body and soul. And, even if you've never been active, there's no time like the present to get started.

Always begin by talking to your doctor. Once you have the green light to exercise, choose fun activities, so it feels like a treat. We're all about fun at RLC! With the help of our lifestyle directors, our social calendars are packed with exciting ways to move, such as hula-hooping, lip sync contests, dances, and more.

If you're interested in seeing what a day-in-the-life of RLC looks like, we'd love to have you join us. Call a community near you to talk to one of our managers and RSVP for a day to come play with us!

COMING FULL CIRCLE

We hope this article was helpful and you're inspired to eat, sleep, and play your way to a healthier you. Next month we'll be sharing our best advice on ways to lift your spirits. Soul-care is just as important as nurturing your mind and body. So, be sure to check back for more great tips and inspiration to live well.


Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit RLCommunities.com.

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