As we age, we learn that there are many things out of our control when it comes to how our bodies change. Some of these uncontrollable changes have to do with genetics and our environment. But things like exercise, diet and stress are factors of our overall health that we can control and should continue to prioritize even more as we age. Though the idea of making lifestyle changes at an older age may sound daunting, it is attainable if you start with reasonable goals.
According to the National Institute on Aging, the following actions are small steps you can take that can have a big impact on your wellness:
STEP 1: Exercise in short spurts throughout the day
Find time each day to incorporate small exercises, like walking or yoga, that are easy to do consistently. Soon, you will notice you have more energy after each workout as opposed to feeling worn down and exhausted. Once you become comfortable with your initial exercise, start exploring new ways to stay active, like weightlifting or jogging. Switching up your routine with different exercises can help keep your workouts fun and interesting.
Need help getting started and finding new workouts? Compass Rose Medicare Advantage members have access to the Renew Active® Fitness Program,1 a free gym membership that includes access to a nationwide network of premium fitness locations and online workout videos to help make staying active easier and enjoyable.
Enrolled in the Compass Rose Health Plan? Stay active with a fitness membership for just $25 per month through Active&Fit Direct™.2 With the Active&Fit Direct program, members have access to fitness centers, studios, digital workout videos and one-on-one lifestyle coaching. To enroll in the Active&Fit Direct program, access your exclusive member link on the Compass Rose Health Plan page via your myCompass account. This link will take you to the Active&Fit Direct website to enroll and obtain an ID card to present at your selected fitness center.
STEP 2: Eat a balanced diet
If your diet could stand to be a little healthier, start by adopting small changes to your meals, like adding in more fish or leafy greens. The Mediterranean-style eating pattern, which includes healthy fats, fresh produce, less salt and dairy but more fish, is a popular dietary model because of its known benefits in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of Diabetes.
STEP 3: Manage stress
Stress is unavoidable, but just like any health condition, it is important to find ways to control it to keep your health in check. Things like journaling, meditation or exercising consistently can be helpful ways to bring calm into your life.
If you document your stress through journaling every day, you may be able to identify the causes and how to manage or even avoid it in the future. Be sure to talk to your doctor if your stress or anxiety feels overwhelming.
STEP 4: Stay connected with friends and family
Socializing is a great way to stay active physically and mentally. Organize regular gatherings or phone calls with loved ones to keep you engaged with your social network regularly. This is beneficial to your mental health as well as your physical health, plus it gives you something to look forward to when the stresses of life can feel like too much to handle.
Step 5: Enjoy yourself!
This sounds easy, but as we all know, work tends to come before play, and we do not always leave time for the activities we truly enjoy. Make sure to find time to do the things you love that give you energy and fulfillment. Set aside time to try a new restaurant, attend a sporting event, pick up a new book or tend to your garden. Most importantly, have fun doing it!
These five steps are a great starting point for helping you make sustainable lifestyle changes that benefit your overall wellness. According to Healthline, it can take an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic, but the only timeline that matters is the one that works for you. You may not be able to make a drastic change overnight, but with small steps anything is achievable.
Additionally, a study by the National Institute on Aging found that making some of the changes above can also decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and can help you maintain your independence as you age. To assist with aging needs and concerns, Compass Rose Benefits Group members have access to our complimentary Aging Well program.
The Compass Rose Aging Well program is a free service that provides members with educational resources along with a nurse and resource coordinator to help you develop your personal aging well strategy. This team of dedicated professionals can help answer your age-related concerns and connect you with local services to help you with your goals. Get started with the Aging Well program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at (866)-368-7227 (option 6).
1Participation in the Renew Active® program is voluntary. Consult your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program or making changes to your lifestyle or health care routine. Renew Active includes standard fitness membership. Equipment, classes, personalized fitness plans and events may vary by location. Certain services, classes and events are provided by affiliates of UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or other third parties not affiliated with UnitedHealthcare. The Renew Active program varies by plan/area.
2Active&Fit Direct™ — Participants must be 18 years of age, be located in the United States, and have a valid email address. Participants must pay by credit card and are charged in advance on a monthly basis using a recurring payment subscription. If a participant chooses to cancel, they must provide a 30-day notice of cancellation. All payments are subject to tax, if applicable, based on the participant’s location. Plus an enrollment fee and applicable taxes. Fees will vary based on fitness center selection. Add a spouse/ domestic partner to a primary membership for additional monthly fees. Spouses/domestic partners must be 18 years or older. Fees will vary based on fitness center selection. The Active&Fit Direct program is provided by American Specialty Health Fitness, Inc., a subsidiary of American Specialty Health Incorporated (ASH). Active&Fit Direct and the Active&Fit Direct logo(s) are trademarks of ASH and used with permission herein. Not all services may be available in all areas and the program may be changed (including monthly and enrollment fees and/or the introductory period) or discontinued at anytime.