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

Something in the air

Exposure to particulate matter from air pollution has been shown to increase inflammatory markers in the bloodstream and oxidative stress, which are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. People can protect themselves by avoiding high-pollution areas, restricting their time outside when air quality is poor, and exercising indoors when necessary. (Locked) More »

The smart way to look at carbohydrates

Many people believe a healthy diet means reducing or eliminating carbohydrates, but carbs provide the body’s primary energy source, glucose, which fuels everything from breathing to thinking to running. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults get 45% to 65% of their daily calories from carbs, but they should be from healthier sources like nutrient-rich whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and dairy. (Locked) More »

Working later in life can pay off in more than just income

Many older adults are working past retirement age, which may have a good or a bad effect on health. Studies have linked working past age 65 to a reduced risk for developing heart attack or dementia, and a reduced risk of dying prematurely. However, working past retirement age can cause stress. Some studies have linked retiring from the work force with a substantial reduction in mental and physical fatigue and depressive symptoms. If one is going to work past retirement age, it’s best to get a job that is meaningful and enjoyable. (Locked) More »

Balancing act

Every year, about one-third of adults older than age 65 experience at least one accidental fall. About 20% of these falls result in a serious injury like broken bones in the wrist, arm, and ankle; hip fractures; and head injuries. Performing balance exercises can help reduce a person’s risk of falling. (Locked) More »

Finding the right serum for your skin

Serums can be a valuable addition to your skin care regimen because they give your skin a concentrated dose of vitamins and antioxidants. However, choosing the right combination of ingredients for the skin problems you are trying to address is important. (Locked) More »

Managing your medications before a medical procedure

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), anticoagulants, and certain herbs and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding with surgery. They may need to be stopped before a procedure. However, some medications, such as those taken to manage blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, or type 2 diabetes, may need to be taken on the day of surgery. Instructions for stopping or restarting medications and supplements should come from one’s doctor, at least one week before the surgery. (Locked) More »

Skin potions that really work

Serums can be a valuable addition to your skin care regimen because they give your skin a concentrated dose of vitamins and antioxidants. However, choosing the right combination of ingredients for the skin problems you are trying to address is important. (Locked) More »

Straight talk about your voice

It’s common for a man’s voice to change as he ages, a condition called presbylaryngis, or aging of the larynx. The result is often that raspy, hoarse tone known as “old age” voice. Medication side effects and lifestyle habits also can contribute to presbylaryngis, but there are many self-help strategies that can strengthen and protect your voice. (Locked) More »

Ways to dig out of a dietary rut

Sometimes older adults get into a menu rut or stop eating healthy, nutritious foods. This may reflect issues with money, mobility, or loneliness. A dietary rut may lead to a reliance on prepackaged foods, and even malnutrition. Suggestions to break out of a dietary rut include trying new foods; cooking in large quantities, with leftovers that can be eaten throughout the week; signing up for subscription meal kits; inviting friends to dinner; and asking friends to pitch in with a meal, with each person taking turns shopping and cooking. (Locked) More »

Wearable weights: How they can help or hurt

Wearable weights serve several purposes. Wearable wrist weights can substitute for a dumbbell for people who can no longer grip weights in their hands. Wearable ankle weights can make the muscles work harder for people who do targeted leg and hip exercises. A weighted vest may be useful when worn on a walk. But wearing ankle or wrist weights on a walk may cause muscle imbalance. It’s best to check with a doctor before incorporating wearable weights into a workout. More »