Healthy Aging Month was created over 15 years ago in order to promote enthusiasm and responsibility for the physical, social, mental and financial well-being of seniors.
You can get involved with your community in many ways, such as sponsoring a mall-walk, family bicycle ride or hosting a reading night honoring seniors at your local library.
In observance of this celebration, here is some important information gleaned from medical and health experts designed for you to live each day fully and in good health:
Getting to a healthy weight is closer than you think
We are all too familiar with the signs of aging, like wrinkles, wearing stronger readers to browse the morning paper and, of course, weight gain. However, without proper nutrition and exercise to keep you in top form, seniors are also prone to memory loss, decreased brain function and an increase in developing heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer, according to information on WebMD.com
If you’re looking to lose those unwanted pounds or simply maintain a healthy weight, it’s just a step or two away.
Get Up, Get moving!
Exercise is one of the most important things we can do to keep our heart healthy and muscles strong. Without physical activity, our muscles get weaker and we may find it hard to perform day-to-day activities without asking for help from others.
In addition, if we consume more calories than we burn up, we run the risk of being overweight or even obese, a growing epidemic that spans all ages.
According to U.S. News and World Report, “elderly people with extra body fat may not live as long as those who maintain a normal weight, according to a new study that contradicts previous research.”
If you are over the age of 65 and in generally good shape, aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of aerobic activity plus two or more days of strength-training activities, according to guides offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The good news is that you don’t have to participate in these activities all at once. You can vary the amount of time and days you devote to your exercise schedule during the week. Even ten minutes of exercise at a time can make a difference.
Some good examples of aerobic activity are: brisk walking, bike riding and swimming. You’ll know if you’re getting all the benefits during your aerobic workout if you can talk but not be able to sing the words to your favorite song, according to the CDC.
Weightlifting, yogaand gardening are good ways to work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.) It’s best to start with one set of 8-12 repetitions of a strength-training activity, then work up to two or three sets.
Rest to recharge
Be sure to get proper rest and sleep in between your workouts. Without adequate rest, our bodies are more susceptible to sickness and disease. Proper rest and sleep will give your body a chance to repair and recuperate your muscles for the next day.
Remember: always check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.
Red, green, yellow and blue
A quick trip to your grocery offers you a wide assortment of healthy fruits and vegetables, all rich in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that eliminate free radicals that cause inflammation in our bodies. This inflammation makes us susceptible to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s, not to mention adding extra weight to our bodies.
To combat the damaging effects of free radicals and keep your weight in check, be sure to choose foods that are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants, such as fresh, colorful produce, green tea, and cold-water fish, such as salmon and tuna.
It’s also beneficial to limit your intake of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids found in fast-foods, processed foods, sugars and starches, all of which further contribute to weight gain and the aging process.
Quit the habit – for good
We all know that smoking is bad for your health. That’s nothing new. So, stop smoking. If you can’t do it alone, join a support group. Your friends, family and lungs will thank you. And, if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Growing old doesn’t mean giving up on achieving a healthy lifestyle. It’s never too late to start – and maintain – a game plan to keep you feeling and looking your best!
Erin Palmer writes about career and education topics like healthcare management and public health for Best Allied Health Programs (powered by U.S News University Directory). For more information please visit bestalliedhealthprograms.com