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The 5 Most Affordable Ways for Seniors to Stay Fit and Healthy

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October 28, 2019

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Seniors often face unique health struggles. But staying healthy and fit doesn’t require a lot of money or time. Getting all the nutrients and exercise you need is as simple as checking these five items off your to-do list.

1. Get Fit with Friends

Exercise is essential at any age. For seniors, staying in good physical health means addressing common fitness challenges like maintaining balance and keeping weight on. Strength training, for example, helps retain muscle and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Working out alone isn’t always safe, however. Depending on your mobility level and overall health, exercising at home may not be ideal. Joining a group that exercises together—even if it’s just a few friends—can get everyone on track toward staying fit. Plus, socializing while you work out can not only help improve your physical health, but also your mental state.

2. Make Healthy Eating Easier

Though it may be challenging to prepare healthy and elaborate meals, you don’t need complicated recipes to eat well. A healthy diet for older adults involves a balance of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

Of course, you need to keep your pantry and fridge stocked to be able to prepare nutritious food. If you have trouble getting to the grocery store, many retailers now offer grocery pickup and even delivery to your doorstep, which gives you easier access to healthy ingredients. Meal delivery services are another—albeit more expensive—option for getting fresh meals at home.

3. Take Advantage of Available Programs

Though connecting with resources in your community can seem daunting, many programs offer nutritional and physical support. For example, for older adults on a budget, food bank services can help round out your pantry. Plus, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be eligible for programs that can help support your nutritional and lifestyle goals. For example, plans like an Anthem Medicare Advantage plan can give you access to fitness and wellness programs, such as SilverSneakers.

4. Get Outside More Often

Going outside, even if you only sit in the sunshine, offers many health benefits. But according to one study, older adults who engaged in physical activity outdoors showed fewer depressive symptoms, reported a higher quality of life, and had less fear of falling.

Then again, we don’t need a study to tell us that some vitamin D and fresh air is healthy for people of all ages. Even without physical exertion, being outdoors can help improve your memory, reduce inflammation, help boost your immune system, and more, Good Nature Travel explains. Make sure you have a safe place to walk or rest outdoors, and breathe in fresh air regularly.

5. Check In with Your Doctor Regularly

As you get older, it’s common to experience both acute and chronic health problems. Regular visits with your doctor can help pinpoint significant changes in your health. In general, experts suggest seeing your general practice doctor at least once per year.

Beyond age 65, some older adults benefit from seeing a geriatrician, especially if they have complicated medical issues. In most cases, your health insurance plan will cover the expense of seeing your general practitioner or a specialist, making this another budget-friendly tip for staying healthy.

While younger folks may find it easier to stay in shape and eat well, seniors can adopt many of the same strategies. Living better doesn’t cost much, and it only takes some motivation and smart use of available tools.