Written by Sara Martin, Wellness Coordinator at The Cedars as seen in the Senior Sourcebook 2017

It’s never too late to make a healthy lifestyle change that can lower your risk for chronic disease and depression. Did you know that 35% of health and longevity is determined by our genes, and 65% can be modified by us? You can take control of your quality of life by making some healthy lifestyles changes that are sustainable- not quick diet fads or extreme activity. It’s all about maintaining or even improving your functional movements, health, and quality of life.

Increase Your Physical Activity

  • MOVE, move, move – no matter how much or how little, just keep moving! Movements can be as simple as getting out of a chair, walking up the stairs, tying your shoes, scratching your back. The worst thing you can do is to stop: functional movement is your foundation.
  • PLAN ACTIVITIES like joining an exercise class geared to your likings and abilities. Some great options include aquacize, yoga, tai chi, strength training, and walking (inside or out).
  • JOIN A LOCAL GYM that has personal trainers to show you some beneficial exercises. Doing more than your normal everyday activities will help maintain and improve your physical abilities.

Regular, moderate activity will help manage your stress, improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression, maintain your independence, decrease your risk of falls and injuries, and increase your cardiovascular health. NOTE: always contact your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

What we put into our bodies is so important!

  • FOCUS ON NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS rich in the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Stay away from processed foods with extra ingredients that our bodies don’t need. Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • EAT WHOLE GRAINS such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, rye, barley. Avoid refined processed grains such as white bread, white pasta, and white flours.
  • EAT ENOUGH PROTIEN from meats, dairy, fish, and legumes.
  • LOWER SODIUM AND SUGAR by avoiding processed and packaged foods. Shop around the perimeter of your grocery store.
  • READ LABELS and know what you are eating. If you don’t recognize ingredients, look them up and think twice about putting them into your body.
  • STAY HYDRATED, drink water, even if you think you are drinking enough, drink more!

Making some of these changes will affect your heath is so many positive ways. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and lower your risk for chronic disease. It’s all about moderation, do the best you can!

Aging is unavoidable, but poor health is not! “You can’t help getting older but you do not have to get old!” (George Burns) One small change can make a big difference – why not age the best we can? Make a change now, because in a year from now you will have wished you started today!

 

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