As you age, you should strive to keep your body in shape by exercising, eating well and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. And while these are great ways to remain young at heart, you shouldn’t forget about your social life. Studies have shown that interacting with others will sharpen your mind, increase your self-worth and enhance your physical and mental health. In fact, a UCLA study determined that having vibrant, strong social connections has a bigger impact on your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure – and is just as important as food and shelter.
So now that you realize that staying connected should be a vital part of your life, how should you go about staying socially active? Here are just a few ideas:
- Volunteer – There are several options available if you want to donate your time to a good cause. You can help out at a local hospital or nursing home; volunteer at the pre-school your grandchildren attend; or, if you are physically able, even help coach a youth sports team.
- Join a club – Is there a better way to stay socially active than to meet regularly with people who have similar interests? You can become active with a book club, garden club or a group that plays golf on a regular basis.
- Visit the gym – This option will enhance both your physical and mental well-being. In addition to improving your overall health, you’ll also get to interact with others.
- Go back to class – Learning something new at the local community college or adult education center will certainly keep your brain active, and you’ll get to spend time with people of all ages and backgrounds. You can learn about writing, art, cooking or any other subject that interests you.
- Learn something new – If you are one of those senior citizens who hasn’t yet discovered computers, email, smartphones, Facebook or the internet, now might be the time to find out what social media is all about. Once you realize what you’ve been missing, you’ll be able to connect with friends and loved ones either in person or from the comfort of your own home.
As long as you stay socially active in your senior years, it’s not that important which avenue you choose. Studies have shown that interacting with other people on a regular basis helps prevent an array of mental health issues that range from depression to poor cognitive function to Alzheimer’s disease. Spending time with other people also tends to lower your blood pressure and even reduce your risk of physical issues such as cardiovascular problems, osteoporosis, arthritis and even some cancers.
Just as important, if you are socially active, you have a built-in support system that consists of people who probably have some of the same health issues you are dealing with. In addition, you’ll learn more about how to stay healthy and enjoy life because you’ll share information with the people you see on a regular basis.
Are you interested in learning more about how social activities help promote physical and mental health for senior citizens? Contact Nye Health Services, which provides a wide range of services to maximize the health and wellness of older adults. For more information, please contact Nye Health Services at (402) 753-1400.