Aging is a fact of life. We all age. How can we improve our chances of successful aging? How can we live longer and healthier? Here are some tips to longer, healthier lives based on several observational studies:
Move your body. Yes, move. Move naturally. Exercise has many benefits and could help you live a longer, healthier life. When we talk about exercise, most people think about lifting weights in the gym or running 5Ks and marathons, but that is not what we are talking about here. We say ‘move naturally’ to shift your focus to movements that occur during your usual activities around the house, like sweeping, gardening, doing the dishes or just taking a stroll in the neighborhood. Make this a habit and it will pay dividends. Activities like Tai Chi and Yoga are also fine. There are exercise programs for seniors like Silver Sneakers that you can also try.
Eat your way to health. Most observational studies, including the work done about Blue Zones (5 areas where people live well into their 90s and 100s), show a direct correlation between certain dietary habits and long life. Some of the common observations are: 1. Eat smaller portions, less calories. Stop eating when your stomach is 80% full. 2. Eat your smallest meal of the day in the evening. 3. Be physically active for a while after your last meal. Do not go to bed right after your last meal. 4. Eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, beans; cook with olive oil; eat meat but with less frequency. Eat dairy but with less frequency as well (goat cheese and milk may be good for you). 5. Wine. Drink little to moderate amounts. For example, one glass of wine with dinner (in some Blue Zone areas, they do this every day but we cannot recommend the same frequency).
Socialize. Yes, engage socially with friends, family and others in your community. Get out of your home and interact with others out there in a safe environment. Talking to others, playing board games, singing, dancing and other community activities may very well enhance your health and longevity.
Tickle your mind. Exercise your brain: 1. Read, solve puzzles, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or any other activity that makes you think. This may very well help slow any natural progression in cognitive decline. 2. Purpose. If you do not know yours, find your purpose in life. In other words, what gets you going when you wake up in the morning? Is it your family? Grandkids? A business interest? Volunteering at a local charity? A hobby? A dance or singing group you meet with regularly? Anything? Find that one thing that drives you and acknowledge it. If you do not have any, find one. 3. Part-time work/volunteering. Just a thought.
This one is the Palmas Clinic tip – Health Enhancing Habits. We believe that people who engage in certain health enhancing habits, live healthier, longer lives: 1. Regular preventative medical care. Get your check-ups with your primary care provider so you can have all your age-appropriate screenings done. This will help detect and address potential problems early and prevent major health issues from developing. Examples include Colon Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer Screening, and eye exams for Diabetics, etc. Your provider will also make sure you have all recommended vaccines based on your medical history. For example, Flu vaccines, Pneumonia vaccine, etc. 2. Do not smoke tobacco – avoid frequenting areas where people smoke. If you have a friend or family member who smokes around you, make them stop or go elsewhere to smoke. Second-hand smoke is also dangerous. 3. Low to Moderate alcohol intake. Heavy drinking can cause a lot of health problems and may ultimately lead to Cirrhosis of the liver or heart disease. A glass of red wine occasionally with one meal may be beneficial. 4. Manage stress. Figure out a way to manage stressful situations or stress in general. Some useful techniques include socializing with friends and family, talking to a confidant like your religious leader, napping, meditation, yoga, exercise, praying, etc. Whatever works for you is what you should use.
Move your body!
Eat your way to health!
Tickle your mind. Exercise your brain!
Health Enhancing Habits!
Now that you have read these tips, it is time to apply them! Happy healthy living! You can also read our other blog posts here.