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Healthy Aging

QUESTION: What are some tips for healthy aging?


Healthy aging is a lifestyle that is affordable to all income levels. Exercise and nutrition are two of the most important steps a person can take in the healthy aging process. Physical activity and eating the right foods can help people feel better; delay some diseases like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes; fight depression; and help older people stay living independently at home longer.

Healthy aging incurs four types of exercises that include time, muscle building, balance control, and stretching.
  • A total of 30 minutes on most days of the week in an activity that causes a person to breathe harder than normal is suggested. The activity can be during 10-minute sessions through out the day adding up to 30 minutes. Working hard enough until one has difficulty speaking is just the right amount of exercise. If one cannot speak because of the exercise, it is too much and the person should let up on the activity.

  • Use activity that will keep muscles strong for healthy aging. Anyone at any age will lose muscles that are not used. Concentrate on muscles in the back, legs, and arms. A person can do deep breathing exercises to increase and strengthen lung capacity.

  • Keeping good balance helps with healthy aging, as one grows older. An activity such as standing on one foot helps with balance. Hang onto something if you should get dizzy to keep from falling.

  • Keeping up with a light stretching routine everyday helps in healthy aging techniques. Never stretch so far that it hurts.
Anyone can do these activities; even if one has heart diseases or diabetes. But only do these activities when disease conditions are under control. Exercise could be harmful during flare-ups. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, because some symptoms could prove to be dangerous upon exertion.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people to eat products from the five major food groups everyday. Include something from each of these food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and lean meats. The lower amounts of fatty foods are best. Eating the smallest amount suggested on the food labels will give you around 1600 calories each day, where the largest portions are about 2800 calories.

You can lose interest in eating when dentures do not fit properly, medicine dulls the flavor of the food, or changes in the taste and sense of smell as one ages. You will need to compensate for these changes. Healthy aging includes drinking plenty of fluids such as water, milk, juice, gelatin, or soup. If the urine is dark or bright yellow, you need to drink more fluids and do not wait to drink until you are thirsty. Drink regularly throughout the day.

Plan your meals in advance to keep the cost of food at a minimum. Check your staples like flour, sugar, rice, and cereal. Keep canned and frozen foods on hand to add variety to the meals; and they are handy when you do not feel like cooking.

Following these simple steps will help you age in healthy ways.

Learn More About Aging!

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