5 tips for taking charge during Healthy Aging Month

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September is Healthy Aging Month and the time to get started on better health practices. As a maturing individual in terms of aging, I endeavor to maintain healthy aging processes in my daily life. We all want to feel healthier and undertaking healthy lifestyle actions can be important components to achieving that goal as we move on in years.

As we age, we become aware that our physical and mental health, as well as dietary and social needs, changes over time. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost control. You can take charge of your well-being, by taking steps to age with a healthy body and a healthy mind. Some tips are provided in this column to help contribute to this goal.

What is healthy aging wellness?

Healthy aging is the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age.

1. Get moving

It is important to consult your qualified health professional before exercising. Start slow, know your limitations and modify activities if needed.

Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.

Beginning physical activity can be as easy as walking for 10 to 15 minutes for three to four days per week and increasing as you go.

Maintaining regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

Make your physical activity fun and something you enjoy doing!

2. Maintain a healthy diet

Eat proper portion sizes.

Overeating can lead to obesity and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and have them make up half of your plate.

Avoid excess processed foods.

Stay hydrated- adults should drink between 10-16 cups of water per day, depended on gender, living environment, and activity level.

3. Stay social

Try something new by attending online or socially distant in-person classes that interest you.

Use technology like Zoom or Facetime to stay in touch with friends and family.

4. Balance your body and mind

Keep a positive attitude.

Keep your mind active by reading or doing puzzles.

Keep your body active through stretches and yoga.

5. Be proactive

Receive regular checkups, physicals and medical tests when needed as many diseases can be prevented when caught early.

Don’t forget appointments with the dentist and optometrist too.

Take vitamins, supplements and medications as prescribed.

A takeaway

Use September as the motivation to take stock of past experiences and make some future goals. Everyone ages differently, so there are no set rules. It’s never too late to start something new. Staying active and vibrant as long as possible is the ultimate goal and is the best gift to oneself.

Staying physically and mentally active, as well as and nurturing social connections with friends and family are all part of the bigger picture in keeping the mind and body well.

Additional information/resources

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is offering 10 steps to promote healthy aging and good brain health during September and throughout the year. Check them out at alzfdn.org.

Check out this resource from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on Healthy Aging at:hhs.gov.

Mark A. Mahoney, Ph.D. has been a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for over 35 years. He can be reached at marqos69@hotmail.com.

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