Independence Day just passed, and I hope you created some great new memories. And I also hope you took a moment to think about your own independence.
As you’ve gotten older, you might have noticed that some of your friends’ lives have changed drastically.
Or perhaps you’re thinking of family members who have lost certain capabilities, live in 24-hour care facilities, or are no longer able to entirely take care of themselves.
Although the effects of aging are real, they can be delayed by making some positive lifestyle choices. So it might be worthwhile to start thinking about how you can continue to enjoy being independent.
Keeping Your Mind and Body Healthy (Key Nutrients That Encourage Independence)
One of the best tools at your disposal to maintain youth and independence is exercise. The stronger you are, the better you can move, the less chance you have of being injured, and the less help you’ll need to perform physical tasks such as carrying groceries or getting out of bed. Strength-training exercises such as squats are essential, as are exercises that encourage lateral movements.
Exercise also helps your heart and mind (1). It benefits your mind by creating improvements in memory, thinking skills, and mood, and can help prevent the onset of dementia. This is accomplished both by resistance training and cardiovascular activity, such as walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or gardening.
Diet also plays a key role in keeping your mind and body healthy and strong. Eating a heart-healthy, balanced diet featuring lots of fruits and vegetables can help you stay young. Some of the key nutrients that encourage independence and longevity are:
Building and maintaining muscle is increasingly important with age. It protects you from falls, maintains balance, and allows you to carry the things you need. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, so make sure you get the full benefit of your exercise by eating about 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body mass.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
Your body doesn’t produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, you must get them from dietary sources. Omega-3s improve cholesterol and may offer great benefits for brain health. DHA, the most important omega-3, plays a key role in keeping your brain cells alive and functioning at a high level. The best sources of DHA and other omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines. You can also take omega-3 supplements; however, a six-ounce serving of salmon per week will offer enough.
Remaining independent as long as possible can help you get the most satisfaction from your life. So take some time to reflect on all the good things happening around you, and make the lifestyle adjustments than can help you experience many more!