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

Can cycling cause erectile dysfunction?

Cycling is a great low-impact exercise, which is ideal for many older men. But can putting in miles in the saddle cause temporary erectile difficulties? It depends. According to a Harvard Special Health Report, Erectile Dysfunction: How medication, lifestyle changes, and other therapies can help you conquer this vexing problem, the Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that in certain circumstances, bike riding can damage nerves and compress arteries in the penis, which may lead to erectile problems. The risk was highest among men who cycled more than three hours a week. The reason cycling may cause ED is that the seat puts constant pressure on the perineum—the area between the genitals and anus. This pressure can harm nerves and temporarily slow blood flow, which causes tingling or numbness in the penis and, eventually, ED. More »

Can you make up for years of poor eating?

Atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) may be reversible through intensive lifestyle changes, but because the process is highly challenging, experts say it’s preferable to focus on preventing new damage to avoid a cardiovascular crisis, such as a heart attack or stroke. More »

Insider tips to maximize your doctor visit

The average length of a doctor visit ranges from 10 to 20 minutes. There are ways to maximize every moment. For example, it helps to prepare and prioritize questions for the doctor in advance, and tell the doctor as soon as possible that there are questions that need to be answered before the end of the visit. When the doctor asks about the reason for the visit, one should give a brief summary. (Locked) More »

Ward off winter skin woes

Winter can wreak havoc on the skin. Exposure to cold weather or dry heat indoors can cause dry, itchy skin. Some simple steps, such as moisturizing regularly, can help to solve them. More »

What’s new with the shingles vaccine

Shingrix, a new vaccine to protect against the shingles virus, reduces the risk of shingles by an average of 97% among adults ages 50 and older. This is almost double the protection of the previous shingles vaccine, Zostavax, which reduces the risk of shingles by an average of 51%, but becomes less effective as people age. (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 ( or the USDA’s Food Tracker ( (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 »