Staying Healthy

Maintaining good health doesn't happen by accident. It requires work, smart lifestyle choices, and the occasional checkup and test.

A healthy diet is rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, "good" or unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These dietary components turn down inflammation, which can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs. Going easy on processed foods is another element of healthy eating. Sweets, foods made with highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages can cause spikes in blood sugar that can lead to early hunger. High blood sugar is linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even dementia.

The Mediterranean diet meets all of the criteria for good health, and there is convincing evidence that it is effective at warding off heart attack, stroke, and premature death. The diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; low in red meats or processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine.

Physical activity is also necessary for good health. It can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Physical activity improves sleep, endurance, and even sex. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, such as brisk walking. Strength training, important for balance, bone health, controlling blood sugar, and mobility, is recommended 2-3 times per week.

Finding ways to reduce stress is another strategy that can help you stay healthy, given the connection between stress and a variety of disorders. There are many ways to bust stress. Try, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, playing on weekends, and taking vacations.

Finally, establish a good relationship with a primary care physician. If something happens to your health, a physician you know —and who knows you — is in the best position to help. He or she will also recommend tests to check for hidden cancer or other conditions.

Staying Healthy Articles

Getting a start on growing stronger

Strength and power training can slow muscle loss and can also help prevent or control arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis and improve cognitive function. The exercises described can be performed at home with minimal equipment. (Locked) More »

Tennis, anyone?

People who play tennis a few times a week may lower their chances of dying of heart disease or a stroke compared with inactive people. Tennis provides an upper- and lower-body workout, as well as intermittent, high-intensity activity, both of which are thought to be good for the heart. Tennis playing also has been linked to other factors associated with heart health, including a lower body-fat percentage and more favorable cholesterol levels. Finally, the game encourages mindfulness and strengthens social ties, which may lower stress levels. (Locked) More »

A quick-start guide to the latest food terminology

New terminology describing how foods are produced can be confusing, and doesn’t always indicate if a food is better for health. For example, non-GMO foods contain no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But it’s heavily debated whether use of GMOs alters the nutritional quality of food or poses a threat to health. It’s helpful to learn the meaning of such terms such as non-GMO, grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, pasture-raised chickens, and wild-caught salmon. (Locked) More »

Choosing a senior living community

Choosing a senior living community for yourself or a loved one can feel overwhelming. There are many options for long-term care available, and it may be difficult to know what will best suit your needs. Doing some research is a good first step. And you'll need to arm yourself with a list of questions to ask senior living communities. Among the questions to ask senior living communities, one of the first should be about the level of care you or a loved one needs. The options boil down to three levels:  Safety and quality of care are also important to list among questions to asksenior living communities. There are many rules and regulations that retirement facilities must follow. A good way to check on nursing home safety and quality is by visiting www.medicare.gov.  More »

Get smart about treadmills

Treadmills can target key muscle groups that older adults need to strengthen in order to improve balance and endurance, such as quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. The machines also can be helpful for people recovering from an injury or surgery since they can control the speed and intensity. Treadmills also offer a safe environment free of unpredictable footing and adverse weather conditions. More »

In a slump? Fix your posture

Most changes in posture are a result of bad habits, such as sitting hunched over and not standing correctly. Over time, these habits can create muscle weakness and imbalances that can trigger spasms and place stress on the neck, low back, and shoulders. More »

Dry eyes? Try this!

Dry eye syndrome has many causes, such as aging, underlying conditions, or medication side effects. For people who make enough tears but have dry eye symptoms, warm compresses and gentle eye massage can help. For people who aren’t making enough tears, it helps to use artificial tears or medicines that increase tear production. There’s even an in-office procedure to block tear drainage by inserting plugs into the tear drainage ducts. Caffeine may increase tear production, but too much caffeine may cause jitters and insomnia. More »

Tired of being fatigued

Regular fatigue should not be accepted as a normal part of aging. If fatigue appears suddenly or becomes more frequent, it could be related to several common conditions or lifestyle changes that require medical attention, such as anemia, heart disease, an under active thyroid, or depression, sleep apnea, or medication side effects. More »

What to do for earwax

Keep objects out of the ear. The ear’s natural mechanisms usually minimize wax accumulation. Impacted wax, which is more common in older people and those who wear hearing aids, should be medically removed. More »