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

The growing role of probiotics

The “good” bacteria called probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut, ward off illnesses, and maintain a smooth digestion. Fermented foods like yogurt, pickles, sourdough bread, and certain cheeses are the best sources of probiotics, and men should try to add more of them to their daily diet. (Locked) More »

5 mistakes that will sabotage a healthy diet

Common mistakes can trip up even the best intentions to stay on a particular eating plan. Mistakes include eating a diet that’s too restrictive, overeating in front of TV, keeping the wrong foods in the house, and excluding the wrong foods, such as fruits and healthy fats. One way to stick to a diet is to track food intake. This can be done using a notebook and writing down information or using an app (for an electronic gadget), such as My Fitness Pal (www.myfitnesspal.com) or the USDA’s Food Tracker (www.supertracker.usda.gov). (Locked) More »

Ask these questions when you get a new prescription

When a doctor prescribes a new medication, it’s essential to ask questions about it. The patient should find out why the medication is needed, how it works, what the risks and benefits are, what side effects might occur, how to take the medication, what to avoid when using the medication, how soon the medication will begin working, and when it will be time to re-evaluate if the medication is still necessary. (Locked) More »

Don’t let the cold put a freeze on your daily workout schedule

Many people skip workouts in the winter because of the chilly weather. But winter can be a great time to get outside and exercise, provided a person dresses warmly and finds the right strategies. It is also a good time to try a new activity or to join a community center or fitness club. (Locked) More »

Give spinning a whirl

Spinning classes offer a great cardiovascular workout for older men and can help build lower-body muscle strength. Spinning is also a low-impact exercise that places less stress on the joints, which makes it ideal for men with knee or hip issues or those recovering from orthopedic injuries. (Locked) More »