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 your hamstrings working double duty?

When the gluteal muscles are weak, which is common in the age of sitting too much, the hamstrings are continually overworked and overloaded. That increases the risk for hamstring injury. The best way to protect the hamstrings is to keep all of the leg muscles healthy and working together, including the glutes and the quadriceps in the front of the thighs. To accomplish this, workout routines will likely include exercises that target a single muscle group as well as those that target several muscles at the same time. More »

Don’t be such a stiff

It’s not known why people experience more morning stiffness as they age. Stiffness often occurs after long bouts of inactivity, which is why people feel so stiff when they wake up, since sleeping is when people are inactive for the longest continuous time. Stiffness also can happen after sitting for long periods like when watching TV, working at the computer, having dinner, or riding in a car. Staying active during the day and adopting a morning stretching routine can help prevent stiffness and soreness. (Locked) More »

Give yourself a health self-assessment

An annual self-assessment is a great way to gather the vital information that people need to measure their current situation, create goals, and establish strategies on how best to reach them. This can vary from something as simple as ensuring you can continue their independent living to something more ambitious like traveling more. A complete analysis should address five areas: physical, intellectual, social, financial, and spiritual. (Locked) More »

Medicine cabinet makeover

Experts recommend weeding through one’s medicine cabinet every six months to get rid of expired or unnecessary medications. One should talk to a pharmacist if there’s a question about using a medication beyond its expiration date. When it’s time to dispose of medications, one can participate in drug take-back events held by local law enforcement agencies. (Locked) More »

Retiring? What about your health?

It’s important to consider future health needs when it’s time to select a community for living out the golden years. Look for destinations with access to medical services, nonprofit health services like meal delivery, transportation services, affordable housing options, recreation opportunities, volunteering opportunities, and private-duty services. For example, walkable city centers are getting more consideration as retirement destinations, as are college towns that offer robust learning opportunities or entertainment. One shouldn’t overlook staying in an existing house and community if it meets future needs. More »

What can I do about poor night vision?

Summary: As people age, trouble seeing at night becomes a common issue. Getting an eye exam to update prescriptions and look for common age-related eye problems can help improve vision. More »