A healthy morning routine for older people
1st April 2020
A morning routine is essential for a productive day, especially as we get older and find we have more free time on our hands. Starting your day off in a productive and healthy manner will not only ensure you enjoy a fun-filled and organised day, it’ll help you get into a routine, aiding your health and wellbeing in the long run.
Sophie, Marketing Assistant at Sunrise Care thinks having a routine is a great way to maintain productivity:
“Morning routines can be a great way to maintain organisation and reduce anxiety, particularly for older people. A relaxing, productive and happy morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.
As there are many older people with physical or cognitive impairments who may be dependent on others, establishing a morning routine may help both them and their caregiver prepare for the day ahead more effectively.”
Whether you enjoy partaking in a session of yoga or light stretching, want to ensure you are getting a nutritious breakfast or want to contact loved ones on a daily basis, there are a number of ways you can plan your morning to perfection, continue reading to find out more.
“Regardless of age, it's really important to try and give every day a structure and establishing a morning routine is the perfect way to do this. Even after retirement, the basics of showering, dressing for the day and having breakfast work really well for starters, and having an idea of what you'd like to do or achieve during the rest of the day is also key.” Says Cari from Gransnet.
Amy, Marketing Coordinator from Right at Home UK agrees: “Having a routine in the morning can reduce stress and anxiety for older people as it provides structure and restores a sense of control and independence. Having this structure in place can also help with a better quality of sleep and a more consistent sleeping pattern.
1. Wake up at a regular time every morning
Getting yourself into a routine and starting your day off at a similar time every morning is great for the mind. Rising at the same time daily wakes the mind and body and allows you to fill your day with exciting plans.
If you enjoy getting up at a similar time daily, avoid using an alarm clock and let your body wake up to the natural sunlight, if you find this tricky, try investing in a sunlight alarm clock, as Bustle.com suggest: “Getting up in the winter is especially hard. No one likes to wake up before the sun does, right? Try using a sunrise-simulating alarm clock. It will gradually become brighter, like the natural spring or summer sunlight, before waking you up with your chosen sound. The light helps regulate your biological clock and will ease you into the morning, waking you up gradually and helping to increase your mood and energy levels in the morning.”
Setting an alarm clock, even if you plan to wake up earlier, allows you to enjoy a rested night’s sleep knowing you will be awoken at a reasonable time the next morning. When you first wake up, why not open a window and enjoy the sounds of the singing birds and get allow some fresh air to circulate the room, there is no better way to start the day.
2. Do some light stretches/yoga
Jenny Itzcovitz, Editor of Sixtyplusurfers recommends, "If you are home isolating it is essential to keep to a regular daily routine. Set your alarm clock for a sensible time, such as 8am, and get washed and dressed - don't spend the day in your nightwear! Then do some simple exercises in your home or garden such as stretches and jogging on the spot, you can even dance to some music.”
Once you have woken, there are a number of ways you can start your day in a relaxing way, why not enjoy a relaxing soak in your walk in baths or easily accessible shower? Or perhaps you want to soothe any aches or pains with a session of yoga or light stretching? A light yoga session can bring a plethora of benefits; improves flexibility, builds muscle strength, improves posture and bone strength and relaxes the mind, gentle yoga and activities are also said to help with arthritis.
Cari recommends getting involved in a class or try some simple exercises at home: “Exercise is something it's always great to factor in, whether it's strength training (great for keeping muscle tone as you age), pilates or something to work up a sweat (we have helpful pages on all these, if that's useful)”
Simple and easy yoga poses
Standing forward bend: The standing forward bend is as simple as it sounds. Stand up straight looking forward, slowly reaching to your toes as far as you can to stretch out the spine and back.
Downward dog: Start on all fours, rolling yourself backwards onto your heels, pulling your torso into your chest.
Side lunges: Turn your body to the side and bend one knee into a lunge position for five seconds. This pose is perfect for stretching out the legs and lower back.
The mountain pose: Stand upright and straight, turn your arms so your palms are facing the ceiling, pushing out your chest. This stretches out the chest and arms.
3. Eat a nutritious breakfast
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and the perfect time to get the very best vitamins, minerals and nutritional benefits into your body. Why not start the day with something healthy and inspiring to give your body that well needed morning boost?
“Eating a nutritious breakfast, such as porridge with fruit, will provide you with fuel for the day ahead.” Says Amy.
“The foods we eat are intrinsically linked to our moods, and whilst many of us aren’t morning people we guarantee you’ll be less grumpy if you get a good breakfast in you! This is because eating in the morning gives our bodies that essential boost to get us going and also balances blood sugars to prevent those tired and cranky feelings!” Reports the team at Natural Balanced Foods.
Nutritional and healthy breakfast ideas
A breakfast smoothie: A breakfast smoothie is a great way to get 2, 3 or 4 of your 5 a day into your body in one go, they also taste great and can be tailored to your preferences.
Porridge: Easy and simple to make, porridge is great for filling you up before the day starts, add your own toppings and flavourings to make it extra tasty.
Eggs: Eggs can be served in so many different ways and provide a great supply of protein to the body, why not try boiled along with some toast, or scrambled for something a little lighter.
Yoghurt: Simple and easy, yoghurt offers high protein and calcium-rich ingredients and is great paired with fruits and honey.
4. Make a list for the day
Kick your morning off the right way and plan everything you want to get done throughout the day. There is nothing more motivating than planning your tasks and jobs out so you can tick things off as you go. Making lists and setting yourself certain tasks and targets can give you a sense of purpose and productivity, meaning you will never be stuck for something to do when you find yourself with a bit of free time.
The list doesn’t just have to include chores, make sure you add some more inspiring and creative tasks to keep your mind occupied, add some time for a little exercise, to watch an episode of your favourite television show or to ring an old friend.
5. Get some fresh air
As well as to enjoy some light exercise, getting out for fresh air is great for clearing the mind and improving your mood. Try and factor in some time in your garden into your morning and clear your mind before you continue with the rest of your day.
“Try to get some fresh air in the morning, as this can help with cognitive ability and will also provide you with some gentle exercise. If going for a short walk isn’t an option, open a couple of windows for ten minutes to get some fresh air circulating.” Says Amy.
Try and include a short 10 or 20-minute session in your garden into your routine at least 2 or 3 times a week for prolonged health and wellbeing benefits. Not only does being outside benefit your health and wellbeing, it means you can get to any outdoor or garden jobs you have been meaning to do.
6. Talk to loved ones
There is nothing more comforting than talking to loved ones over the phone, whether that is close friends or family, hearing a friendly voice can really brighten up your day, or even the day of the recipient. Set some time aside in the morning to do this a couple of times a week, especially if you find it more difficult to get out and about without the use of a mobility aid.
FaceTime family and talk to loved ones you don’t get to see often, this is a sure-fire way to brighten the mood of your day.
“Talking will lift your spirits, and also provide comfort to others. Use WhatsApp, FaceTime or just a phone call is great.” Says Jenny.
7. Read or do something you love
Downtime is important and the perfect time to do this is just before lunchtime or when you are enjoying your lunch. Pick something to read to occupy your mind from the tasks of everyday life, whether that is a book, your favourite magazine or something on your phone or iPad, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you enjoy it.
Everybody starts their days off differently, but that doesn’t mean you have to discard some form of routine. If you find it hard to get out and about or occupy yourself in your home, try a morning routine like this one and see how it improves your mood and mental wellbeing.
The best morning routine for older people:
- Wake up at a regular time every morning
- Do some light stretches/yoga
- Eat a nutritious breakfast
- Make a list for the day
- Get some fresh air
- Talk to loved ones
- Read or do something you love
Are you interested in more health related content from Age UK Mobility?
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.