Did you know that September is Healthy Aging Month? Here are a few reminders on healthy aging for adults of any age.
- Stay connected to friends and family. Social bonds are important for physical and mental health. In fact, frequent social interactions have been shown to promote longer life.
- Get moving! Be physically active on a regular basis. Work in at least 150 minutes of moderately vigorous activity each week. “Moderately vigorous” can be brisk walking (at a pace of 4 miles per hour), heavy cleaning, gardening, light bicycling, or doubles tennis. Remember that any amount is better than none at all!
- Get enough rest. Aim for at least 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep. Sleep promotes energy, alertness as well as physical and mental well-being.
- Have an annual appointment with your primary care doctor, even if you are feeling great, find out what health screenings you are due for Know your cholesterol, body mass index, blood pressure, glucose, and A1C. Medicare considers an annual wellness visit so important for older adults that it covers the full cost. Here are some tips to prepare for your doctor’s visit.
- Get up to date on your siblings’ and parents’ medical history. Many of us are able to report major family history regarding major diseases like cancer, stroke and heart attacks. These are important to know about, including the age at which they were diagnosed. Also make sure you are informed on family history of other conditions, such as allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis, fractures, bleeding or clotting disorders, liver or kidney problems, migraines, dementia, skin conditions, cholesterol, diabetes or pre-diabetes, mental health, and gastrointestinal problems. This webtool from the U.S. Surgeon General may help. Share this information with your doctor and your family.
- Watch your diet, for reasons beyond weight. Many conditions, such as blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, headaches, sleeping problems, mood, irritable bowel are substantially prevented, ameliorated and sometimes cured with dietary changes. Not sure what or how to change? Find a good nutritionist through your physician! Medicare covers nutrition counseling. A few basic points: Get 4.5 cups of vegetables per day. Limit sugar intake. Eat lots of whole grains (What is a whole grain?) Avoid trans-fats entirely (“partially hydrogenated vegetable oils”).
- Here are some other great tips for healthy aging.