You may have heard of Jeannie Epper. She was Lynda Carter’s stunt double during the “Wonder Woman” TV series and has been called Hollywood’s greatest stuntwoman ever. She’s still hard at work despite turning 80 this year.
Now, jumping off buildings and swinging over steep ravines on a vine may be a bit much. But you can still maintain that kind of youth and vigor well into your later years. And since it’s a new year offering a fresh start, consider some of these ideas to shake up your daily routine and keep your wits sharp to boot.
Get More Exercise
You may have lost some strength and endurance over the years, but that probably has more to do with inactivity than aging, according to Verywellfit.com. This means you need to get busy and break a sweat, building muscle as well as burning calories through cardio, with some stretching thrown in to stay limber. Put some music on to keep it fun. Of course, exercise can also play a major role in managing stress.
Broaden Your Diet
Nutrients are the key, and you’ll get those by eating a broad range of fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean meat and fish, with healthy fats and fiber thrown into the mix. You may want to try something new that goes down easily with a smoothie or a quick jolt of juice.
If you’re still feeling low on energy, supplements may be the answer but you should check with your doctor first. Before deciding on anything, try to determine whether you’re simply fighting fatigue or a more serious problem such as depression or anxiety.
Take a Course
Learning is not just for the young. You also need to build new neural connections or your cognitive abilities will begin to decline, so let that motivate you as you’re looking for something new to study. Some older adults even pursue college degrees through local or online universities, though tutorials in cooking or photography may be more up your alley. Be as ambitious as you want.
Hit the Road
Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, many of us are dreaming of the day we can resume our favorite activities, including travel. Once the borders and our own comfort levels return to normal, travel can be another way to flex those mental muscles.
Making your way around new cities, exploring art galleries and maybe even practicing a foreign language if you go abroad all challenge the mind. Even better is if you walk rather than drive so you can burn off calories and keep the heart and lungs in great shape.
Go for a Hike
Let those bubbling streams and towering trees strip the stress from your anxious mind. Hiking also makes an excellent addition to your cardio regimen as you push your way up hills and across the rugged terrain, so long as you’re careful about it. You’ll need some proper footwear and protection from the sun along with realistic goals, according to sparkpeople.com.
Meet Up with Friends
Good conversation with the people you care about, even in this age of social distancing, is more than just a pleasant way to spend some time. You’ll get emotional and spiritual support that you never realized you needed, along with some relief from the stresses of everyday life. It’s even more important these days to offset the isolation you may be feeling as a result of stay-at-home COVID-19 orders. Moreover, studies show that socializing enhances your thinking skills, another reason to stay in touch with your favorite people.
Get Help Around the Home
While it’s beneficial to get exercise, be sure you don’t overdo it. This includes taking care of chores around your home. It may be time to think about hiring some help for work that may not be particularly rewarding either mentally or physically like housecleaning or mowing the lawn.
Watch the Sunrise
If you set the alarm clock a little bit earlier, you can enjoy one of nature’s most amazing miracles every single day. It’s a natural boost of energy, a doctor explains in an article in Well+Good. Watching the sunrise also resets your metabolism so your body works at maximum efficiency throughout the day.
Get Enough Sleep
Watching the sunrise will also establish a healthy routine that ends with some quality slumber. If you’re still not feeling drowsy at the end of the day, try some relaxation techniques such as breathing or guided imagery to help you nod off.
Entrepreneurship to Help You Grow
Once you’re around retirement age it’s tempting to throw in the towel. But before you do, think back to when you first envisioned your dream job. Now that you have the time and hopefully the finances, consider following through with it. In fact, according to Retiredbrain.com, 25 percent of start-up businesses are started by seniors who decided to do just that.
It’s a no-brainer that we’re happier in jobs that we’re interested in. Turning your hobby or great idea into a business isn’t as hard as it sounds either. Doing things we enjoy is motivating and fulfilling and not like working a stale job you’d rather not be at. So, if you never had a chance to pursue your career dream, now’s the time to do something about it.
Once you’ve decided to launch your own business, you’ll need to figure out what type of business you want to start and how seriously you’re going to work. Many seniors find that doing casual work on a lifelong hobby is the most pleasurable route to take, even if it means lower profits. After all, a dream job is supposed to be fun!
With these changes, you should have the physical and mental energy to attack each day rather than just get through it. So keep YOLO (You Only Live Once) in mind and go for it!
By Karen Weeks, www.elderwellness.net