Guest Post by Kim Dalton |

A number of studies have been conducted on the sources of senior stress. One of the most commonly cited reasons seniors experience stress is because they perceive a lack of control in their lives. Whether that is due to their need for a caregiver or simply the way their abilities have changed with age, it is important for seniors to improve their quality of life by taking control of their physical and mental health. Here are some of the simplest and most effective ways seniors can ease their minds and become healthier overall.

Watch What You Put in Your Body

Of course, you can only be fully healthy if you support yourself with nutritious meals. Seniors often rely on the simplicity of pre-cooked meals and restaurant food rather than cooking their own dinners. Even though home cooking may take some extra time, it is worth it for the health benefits. After all, if you are looking to take control of your health, you will have to take control of your food, as well. A diet with plenty of dark, leafy greens and other vegetables will also keep the microorganisms in your gut healthy. There is a growing body of research to suggest that gut health is closely linked to mood stability. So, by eating foods or taking supplements that support your gut, you are helping to improve your overall happiness.

Like food, the medicine you take can contribute to your overall health. While many depend on prescription drugs for certain conditions, there may be a natural replacement without harmful side effects. CBD oil is gaining popularity due to its research-backed benefits, including the possibility of easing pain and inflammation. Though CBD (short for cannabidiol) is from cannabis, it does not get you intoxicated. Do your research on the best CBD oil for you.

Go for a Walk or a Hike

In order to make your body healthy, some physical activity is required. While the exact amount of exercise you can do differs according to your abilities, what is important is that you get your heart rate up for half an hour or more every day. If you enjoy being outside, why not go for a walk or a hike? Depending on where you live, you may be able to power-walk up the sidewalk of your neighborhood, a walking trail around a park, or a hiking trail in a nearby patch of woods.

While sidewalks are good for straight, flat walks, a hike may encourage you to get more exercise than you normally would. Even though it is typically a gentle form of exercise, regular walking improves your cardiovascular health as well as your overall circulation.

Become an Avid Bird Watcher

The best forms of exercise are the ones that incorporate things you already enjoy. If you have already planned a hike, take a pair of binoculars, a small notepad, and a guidebook along to make it a birding adventure. For many people, bird watching is a meditative practice that helps to center their mind and relax their bodies. Did you know that bird watching can also help your cognitive abilities? Since birds are small and quick, catching sight of a bird, focusing your binoculars, and identifying its species can be a surprisingly difficult task. As such, regular bird watching can actually increase your mental alertness and reaction time. Similar benefits come from many other common hobbies — knitting, for instance, improves dexterity and memory.  The important thing is that you pursue something you love to do. This increases the potential positive mental effects and helps you feel more fulfilled as a creative, passionate person.

Set a Limit for Home Projects

Doing housework can also count as exercise, but you may discover that certain chores like cleaning, shopping for groceries, and working in the yard are more difficult as you age. Mopping the floor, for example, may cause you to sustain injury from slipping on the wet floor, while many people underestimate how strenuous activities like shoveling snow can be. It’s better to be safe than sorry by letting professionals handle these tasks for you. You can look online for a variety of services, such as grocery delivery and house cleaning.

While it may seem like a large proposition to reclaim control of your physical and mental health, it is possible for you to reap a multitude of benefits from hobbies and activities you already enjoy. Since the key to actually achieving the benefits is to establish a regular routine, pursuing something you love will help reinforce your new schedule. By linking your wellness to your passions, you will be able to take control of your health and improve your overall quality of life.

For more great information for those preparing for and enjoying their retirement tears, be sure to subscribe to the Seniortopia Show podcast today.