Vail Daily column: Staying fit into your golden years
Ryan Summerlin January 7, 2013
A healthy lifestyle contributes to cognitive acuity for the elderly. Healthy eating, exercise, and stimulating the mind with mental activity all lead to a fit well-being.
Healthy eating for many seniors is sometimes not as easy as one may think. Physical limitation, health issues, and financial hardship are often the cause of poor dietary choices. Seniors that find themselves cooking for two people, or those living alone, often select meals that are convenient and easy. Too often, convenience gives way to ideal nutrition.
While extremely convenient, commercially made and processed meals are often chosen by seniors that find it too difficult to prepare home cooked meals. Unfortunately, these meals don’t provide great nutritional value; such meals contain higher levels of carbohydrates and fats than need.
Foods high in lean-protein along with whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and calcium lead to physically fit seniors. Preparing meals that include these categories can be quite easy. A breakfast that includes breads and cereals high in fiber, fresh fruit, eggs, and yogurt is a great way to start the day. For lunch, a boiled piece of chicken or a piece of fish (cooked in a toaster oven) placed over a salad can provide a great energy boost for the remainder of the day. For dinner, a piece of grilled meat, fish or chicken can be prepared in many ways; add some grilled vegetables or a sweet potato and the day’s meals can be very nutritious.
The Internet can be a great source for finding easy-to-make recipes. For those who do not cook for themselves, Senior Meals here in Eagle County provides home-delivered meals. Eagle County has three sites that provide lunches to seniors, Eagle, El Jebel, and Minturn. There are also many people here in our valley who will prepare meals for our seniors. I will be providing more information about this in another article in the near future.
Exercise and physical activity maintains cardiac fitness and vascular health stimulate the brain as well. Preferably 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, contributes to cardiovascular health. This vascular health and maintenance translates into a sharp mind for seniors.
Research has shown seniors with diets that include plenty of water, Omega-3s, and vitamins B, C, D, and E, do very well mentally. An individual can get these necessities by consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, as well as fish once or twice a week.
Engaging in mentally challenging activities can also keep elderly minds quick and sharp. Reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, games, brain teasers, or learning a new language or musical instrument keeps mind active and occupied.
We are lucky to have many services available to our seniors in our valley and more are on their way.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. His contact information is: www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526.