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

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 »

Crave a better appetite

It is common for appetite to decline with age because of loss of taste buds and sense of smell, chewing problems, medication side effects, and gastrointestinal issues. These problems can change men’s eating habits, leading them to move away from healthier foods to ones that can increase their risk of high cholesterol high blood pressure and diabetes. Changing how men approach meals and meal making and addressing medical concerns can often help increase their appetite for healthier fare. (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 »

Surprising sources of dietary fiber

Legumes aren’t the only good source of fiber. Many nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are also loaded with fiber. For example, an ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) has about 10 grams of fiber. One cup of either cooked whole-grain Kamut or teff has about 7 grams of fiber. Many fruits are good fiber sources, too, such as raspberries, with 8 grams of fiber in a cup. Vegetables can also be rich in fiber, such as Brussels sprouts or dark, leafy greens. (Locked) More »