How You Can Improve Your Emotional and Physical Health as a Senior

How You Can Improve Your Emotional and Physical Health as a Senior
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The golden years should be the best years of our lives. After decades of hard work, this is the time to finally invest in ourselves and our own joy. For some seniors, however, that can be difficult as their mental and physical health begin to decline. While age-related decline is inevitable, it’s how we react to it and care for ourselves when we’re older that can significantly affect our overall wellness. Now is the perfect time to implement ways to achieve better overall health and live your golden years to their fullest.

Invest in Supplements

Unfortunately, the body’s way of processing food changes as we age. It can become more challenging to eat the way we did in previous decades or our taste buds start to lose sensitivity, making food less interesting. When this happens, it’s advisable to add supplements to our diets to ensure we get the vitamins and minerals we need. Calcium, iron and vitamin D are common additions. Another add-on to your wellness regimen to consider is cannabidiol (commonly known as CBD). A derivative of the hemp or marijuana plant, CBD helps soothe many of the issues that seniors commonly face, including chronic pain and difficulty sleeping, but it doesn’t make users feel high or “drugged up” the way marijuana and opioids can. Different supplements provide different benefits, so do some research and speak with your doctor before introducing anything new to your lifestyle.

Aid Your Sleep Habits

Seniors need as much sleep now as they did in their 20s and 30s; the right amount lands somewhere between seven and nine hours. If quality sleep is proving elusive, there are easy tricks you can incorporate in addition to CBD to make your nights better. The first step is to make your bedroom more conducive to sleep. This means making sure your mattress and bedding are comfortable. If you don’t have light-blocking curtains or shades, now is the time to add them. Dark, cool and comfortable is the perfect cocktail for a great night’s sleep. It’s also important to have a faithful nightly routine. Minimize TV watching in the bedroom, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and stick to the same bedtime and wake time every day. Sleep disorders in seniors are common, so if you try all of these steps and still have trouble, it’s time to speak to your doctor.

Socialize Often

Loneliness is a major issue within the senior community. Isolation can lead to the deterioration of our mental faculties, and it can also increase our likelihood of illness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of opportunities for seniors to spend time with others, even if family and friends are too far for regular visits. Look for local groups that engage in your favorite hobby, and find out when they meet. You could also sign up for classes at a community college or a senior center. You might even try volunteering with the hospital, library or homeless shelter. If you no longer drive, there are many volunteer-based groups that offer the seniors in their communities rides to social gatherings; you can use Eldercare.gov’s community assistance locator tool to find an organization that can help you get around and prevent you from feeling isolated.

Exercise the Right Way

Fitness is key to maintaining not only a strong body, but a light spirit as well. It keeps our bones dense and strong, immune systems in good condition, and minds sharp. Yet, as we age, we need to take more care with the exercises we choose. Seniors who are already conditioned for running, cycling or weight lifting might find they’re slightly slower but still able to maintain their regular regimens. Seniors who are just starting out with fitness need to take it slow and make sure they have someone guiding them. Walking, yoga, light resistance training, and swimming are all gentle ways to give seniors the activity their body needs.

There are numerous ways you can improve how you feel. Don’t overlook any aspect of your well-being, as every piece plays a role in your overall health. When you take care of yourself, you’re better able to really enjoy what should be some of the best years of your life.

Article by Jason Lewis

Mr. Lewis has firsthand experience as a senior caregiver, in addition to a background in personal training. He’s passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free.

Natural Home Remedies to Relieve Back Pain

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Back pain is a serious problem that many suffer with. It’s not only painful, but can limit you from doing the things you enjoy doing. While there are various ways to help with back pain, such as chiropractic care, there are also a few home remedies you can consider using to help relieve it. Below is more information behind what causes back pain and some natural home remedies you can use to help stop it.

What is Back Pain?

This is a type of discomfort one feels around their spine or back which can range from mild to severe pain. This can be caused by many different problems, such as tingling nerves or a slipped disc. It could also be due to a medical issue.

What Causes Back Pain?

There are quite a few things that can cause back pain.

●    A Slipped Disc

A slipped disc can be very painful as it can press on the surrounding ligaments and nerves. This can cause numbness as well as excruciating pain. A slipped disc can be caused by an injury or general weakness in the area.

●    Muscle Strain

Muscle strain is a common cause of back pain and usually results in mild pain. Muscle strain can be due to you twisting your back and spine in an awkward position or using incorrect posture.

●    Arthritis

Arthritis can occur in the spine and cause severe pain. Usually caused by osteoarthritis, this degenerative problem can drastically hurt your body’s lumbar anatomy. While this usually affects the lower portion of the spine, it can also affect other areas as well.

●    Scoliosis

This painful medical condition is when your spine curves to an abnormal position. This position can cause your spine to press against muscles and ligaments in your back resulting in pain. It can also cause inflammation, nerve damage, and even strained joints.

Factors that Contribute to Back Pain

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Below are some factors that can contribute to back pain.

●    Age

Age is one of the most common factors of back pain. Usually, as one starts to reach the age of 40, they will start to feel a slight pain in their back occasionally.

●    Extra Weight

Another factor that can contribute to back pain is extra weight. Extra fat in the body will not only make you feel sluggish, but can distort your spine. Because of this, it can result in spinal pain.

●    Smoking

Smoking can cause many negative impacts to your health, including encouraging back pain. This is because smoking limits blood supply to the spine which can prevent important nutrients from being sent to it. Due to this, your spinal cord will start to become painful and less healthy because nutrients aren’t being sent to the spinal discs in your back.

Natural Home Remedies to Help Combat It

If you’re on the search for some natural home remedies to help stop your back pain, you’ll want to consider the following tips.

●    Try to Exercise

Simple exercises, such as walking, has been proven to help reduce back pain. In fact, low-impact aerobic exercise can prevent inflammation and pressure around the spine. Some low-impact aerobic exercises to consider trying out are using an elliptical machine, cycling, and water aerobics.

You could also consider trying yoga. Yoga will help to keep your body moving while encouraging you to stay relaxed. 

●    Work on Your Posture

Another way to help stop back pain is to work on your posture. While this can be difficult at first, the end result will be well worth it. Keep your shoulders back and aligned with your ears. Also,  keep an eye out on the way you sit and ensure you have proper support. If you plan to sit in a chair often, make sure to move around every 30 minutes to prevent your spine from becoming rigid.

●    Use Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy is a very helpful way to help relieve back pain. Cold therapy (which uses ice) helps to reduce swelling. This is helpful to use once you start to feel back pain happening. Heat therapy (usually through the use of a hot shower or heating pad) prevents inflammation and relaxes tense muscles.

You can choose to use one or both. To do both, you’ll want to carefully alternate between them. For instance, start with cold therapy and keep the cold item on your back for about 20 minutes. Then, move on to heat therapy for about 30 minutes.

●    Keep Moving

While it might seem like sitting down or resting on your bed is helpful for back pain, this can actually make it worse. This is because the muscles and nerves causing back pain will keep tightening. By getting up and moving, you can prevent your muscles from becoming stiff.

●    Drink Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is used to help with many medical issues, including muscle spasms. Because of its multiple flavonoids, it can reduce severe inflammation and soreness. While it might take a few days before you start to see results, it’s a helpful natural home remedy to reduce lower back pain. 

●    Change Your Shoes

Sometimes your shoes can be the cause of back pain. This is because your feet are connected to your spine’s lumbar system. Due to this, improper shoes can result in spinal pain. Bad shoes can also cause your spine to slightly shift which can also cause back pain. Because of this, consider changing out your shoes to ones that will keep your spine aligned. You can also use foot inserts to help keep it aligned when you wear your shoes.

●    Change Up Your Diet

If you suffer from back pain, you should also look to change up your diet. This can help to not only relieve any pain you might be having, but also prevent it from becoming chronic. An anti-inflammatory diet will consist mainly of fruits and vegetables. These include:

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cherries

In addition to this, you should also try adding herbs and spices to your meals, like rosemary, garlic, and curcumin. This is because they contain pain-relieving properties, such as diallyl disulfide, which stops inflammation and keeps your bones and tissues strong.

You can also try to use more olive oil and almonds in your diet which contain high levels of antioxidants and Omega-3s.

●    Use Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are also a helpful natural way to relieve back pain. One of the best to use for back pain is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is what helps to keep bones strong while preventing inflammation. In fact, it’s believed that most back pain is caused due to a lack of Vitamin D in the body. Due to this, definitely consider taking Vitamin D supplements.

Other helpful vitamins and minerals include:

  • Vitamin C – keeps your immune system strong and decreases inflammation.
  • Vitamin E – stops muscle pain and helps with circulation.
  • Vitamin B-12 – helps with keeping your nerves healthy and reduces symptoms from chronic back pain.
  • Calcium – keeps your bones strong and prevents the development of osteoporosis.
  • Magnesium – helps with muscle and nerve functions while preventing muscle spasms.

Back pain can be very problematic, but with home remedies, you can easily calm its symptoms and prevent it from constantly occurring. By keeping the information above in mind, you can be sure you’ll be able to combat back pain in a simple yet natural way.



Article by Dr. Wells 
Dr. Wells is the founder of Better Health Chiropractor Wasilla AK. He belongs to both the American Academy of Spine Physicians and the American Chiropractic Association.