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

3 simple strategies to get the most from your yoga class

Not all yoga classes are created equal. Participants should find the right class and instructor for their needs. A little diligence in choosing the right class and making sure the instructor is aware in advance of any pain or medical conditions can help ensure a good experience. (Locked) More »

Are you functionally fit?

Exercise is important to maintain “functional” fitness, which is the ability of a person to perform regular daily activities, whether that means carrying laundry or playing with grandkids. A program to maintain functional fitness includes exercises that mimic daily activities, with motions that help the body get better at pushing, pulling, climbing, bending, lifting, reaching, turning, squatting, and rotating the trunk or shoulders. The exercises also train the muscles to work together. (Locked) More »

Feel the beat of heart rate training

Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. A good way to maintain moderate intensity is with heart rate training, in which a person exercises at 60% to 75% of maximum heart rate. By wearing a heart rate monitor while exercising, a person can have a constant reminder of exercise intensity, so he or she can stay in the moderate-intensity zone as much as possible. (Locked) More »

New motivation to move more

 In people who sit more than 12 or 13 hours per day, sitting for periods of 30 minutes or longer is associated with a greater risk for early death compared with sitting for less than 30 minutes at a time. More »

Roll away muscle pain

Muscle soreness can become a regular part of daily life as a person ages. If aches and tightness interfere with daily living, adopting a foam rolling routine can help. Foam rollers can address common problem area like calves, hamstrings, lower back, and IT (iliotibial) bands. The roller glides over muscles much like a rolling pin to knead out knots, and it’s firm enough to apply sufficient pressure to address deep spots. (Locked) More »

Staying connected can improve your health

Research shows that loneliness may have ill effects for health. Social bonds can fray as people age, particularly in times of stress such as after the loss of a partner or in cases of illness or disability. Taking steps to reconnect can not only help improve social life, but can also help protect health over the long term. More »

Your complete guide to choosing a yogurt to meet your needs

Yogurt is a nutritious food that can bring health benefits if a person chooses the right kind. Amid the many choices, the best option is one that has low sugar, high protein, live and active cultures, simple ingredients, and a taste that makes the product appealing. (Locked) More »