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Keep your mind and body in top shape with 5 steps to healthy aging

Mark A. Mahoney

Healthy Aging Month began in 1992 with the aim of encouraging people to focus on their health and take precautions to face the challenges of aging.

Its origins are attributed to a television special that inspired people to make lifestyle and diet changes to prevent heart problems. September has been chosen as Healthy Aging Month to further increase awareness about physical and mental health, especially among the over-45s.

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As we age, we become aware that our physical and mental health, as well as our nutritional and social needs, change over time. However, that doesn’t mean you’ve lost control.

You can take your well-being into your own hands by taking steps to age with a healthy body and mind. Check out the following as we exit Healthy Aging Month.

Hikers at a Move Tallahassee event.

5 steps for healthier aging

1. Get moving

  • It is important to consult your doctor before exercising. Start slow, know your limitations, and adjust activities as needed.
  • Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
  • Starting physical activity can be as simple as walking for 10 to 15 minutes three to four days a week and gradually increase it.
  • Maintaining regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
  • Make your physical activity FUN and something you love to do!
This chicken and vegetable stir-fry is a healthy option.  Dietitians recommend meals rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

  • Eat appropriate portion sizes.
  • Eating too much can lead to obesity and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and let them make up half of your plate.
  • Avoid over-processed, especially ultra-processed foods.
  • Stay hydrated – adults should drink between 10-16 cups of water per day, depending on gender, living environment and activity level.
Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

3. Stay Social

  • Try something new by attending online or in-person classes (with appropriate precautions) that interest you.
  • Use Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, SMS, email, or other appropriate technology to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends through face-to-face meetings using appropriate public health practices.

4. Balance your body and mind

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Keep your mind active by reading, doing puzzles, or other mentally stimulating actions.
  • Keep your body active through mindfulness, stretching, yoga, and similar activities.

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